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Combining the spontaneity and laid-back charm of a wine bar with the upmarket style of a bistro is a tricky balancing act, but Vinoteca manages to pull it off. The founders’ first love is wine, and their 200-bin list offers at least 25 by-the-glass selections, as well some box and keg options too. However, the food is no mere supporting act, with the menu helpfully suggesting some harmonious wine pairings: perhaps a superior dry German Riesling to accompany a starter of baked scallops with sherry-braised lentils, followed by an Australian Cabernet Merlot to go with the signature bavette steak and chips, all topped off with an Italian Marsala to complement a rosemary pannacotta. The wine list proper is accessible to drinkers as well as diners, with some exciting finds for grape geeks. Down-to-earth, knowledgeable staff and an ever-buoyant atmosphere add to Vinoteca’s all-round appeal.
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21 February 2018
Bright and shiny as befits a new eaterie in the gleaming Bloomberg Arcade, Vinoteca City was extraordinarily busy for a Tuesday evening in mid-February. Three of us took up the current offer of a wine flight with a main course, but for the first 15-20 minutes of arrival, we really thought we had come to the wrong place, such was the lack of staff attention. Finally we managed to gain the eye of one clearly very busy server and eventually three tasting glasses of wine were set before us. It took a bit more time before our food order was taken, and then again for it to arrive, but as the room began to empty a little, the attention of the staff improved. Hopefully, this will be ironed out over the coming weeks, as speed of service aside, it was a great place to eat, drink and chat. Food-wise we shared three dishes from the bar snacks menu, two of which, the salty Padron peppers and the Tamworth pork crackling were very moreish. The third, scamorza on polenta would have benefited from more scamorza and less polenta. Between us we sampled three of the eight mains on offer and all were decent quality with fair size portions. The only quibble I have is that as there was no mention of any side dishes to accompany the mains, we ordered a portion of mashed potato, only to find that each dish was then served with mash. But overall this pointed to our overall view that with a few additional staff and/or better training for those in situ, this really will be a welcome addition to the City after work eating scene.
15 January 2018
I booked this restaurant for my boss who had a breakfast meeting. He thought the food and ambience were excellent and was extremely happy going there.
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