Stuck down a dodgy side passage in the otherwise pretty Leadenhall Street Market, Planet of the Grapes isn't an obvious spot for a top notch wine bar. But that is exactly what it is. Not some '80s, Del Boy and Rodney joint, but a place to buy great quality wine, at stupidly reasonable prices.
There seem to be two sort of wine bar in the City: the “old school” Balls Brothers, El Vino, Davy's style, and the new, lighter, style, with the emphasis on seriously good wine, at seriously good prices (like here, the utterly superb 28-50 and, to some extent, Bar Battu). This new wave of wine bar is more relaxed, more focused on the wine than the old school, which seem far more interested in Rioja and sawdust.
PotG has but a few small tables (which can easily be reserved) and two walls of wine. The concept is simple: pick a wine from the wall, take it to the bar, pay the retail price and an Ayrton Senna corkage, go sit and sip. What could be easier? And the wine too is an excellent selection, from every part of the wine making world at great prices.
The service is relaxed and friendly (the bespectacled proprietor enjoys his wine, which shows as the evening moves on) and the food platters simple: cheese, meat and (most excellent) pies.
A brilliant change to the over-blown faux-fun pubs that occupy the prettier parts of the market.