If you work in the hospitality industry, you may well recognise the interiors at The Black Book. That’s because this discreet Soho wine bar on the corner of Old Compton Street used to be known as TRADE, a private members club for chefs, bartenders and everyone else working in the hospitality business.
It’s plum location in the epicentre of bustling Soho makes it a great shout for post-dinner drinks or a last-minute catch up with friends, so it’s no surprise that the owners have decided to open up their bar to the general public. The same team who ran TRADE are running The Black Book (namely Gearoid Devaney and Xavier Rousset from Blandford Comptoir) and the focus here is now on rare, lesser known wines which are then paired alongside a brasserie-style menu of sharing plates and large plates. Dishes you can expect to find on the menu include the likes of pan-fried cod with seasonal vegetables and a tarragon sauce or roasted onglet lashed with peppercorn sauce and served alongside a portion of hand-cut chips.
Vegetarian diners are also well catered for, thanks to dishes such as courgette flower with goat’s curd, honey and truffle or burrata topped with figs, red onion compote, walnuts and a drizzle of honey. There are a few sweet treats to round off your meal too, including an indulgent salted caramel and chocolate tart.
Of course, the main attraction of The Black Book is the bar’s impressive selection of wines by the glass, as well as its extensive own private collections, which can be purchased by the bottle. Wines range from pocket-friendly to splurge-worthy, although thanks to the owners’ industry connections (hence the bar’s name), you are likely to find wines here that are priced lower than you would expect them to be - result.