10 Wine Bar Reviewed in Bite
We tried the tapas here one snowy Spring lunchtime. The interior itself is very spring-like; bright white with strong lime & turquoise accents – but physically warm enough to offset this and punctuated attractively by informative wall wine displays. Their ‘International’ Tapas, at £5 each, 3 for £13 or 5 for £20, are way more Scottish & Mediterranean than international; but a well-selected variety nonetheless, beautifully presented.
These range from haggis, neeps & tatties gratin with mint & rhubarb sauce – the fact that the mint & seasonal rhubarb worked so well here gives any tourist still uninitiated into the fabled contents of haggis a very big clue – to halloumi cheese marinated in chilli oil with a rich tomato tapenade. The tomato/olive mix was full of flavour & complementary textures – though the halloumi, whilst acquiring flavour from the chilli, had become more firm than usual to the extent it became a little too similar to the harissa chicken skewers. What I really wanted to taste but sadly was too late for, was the ham hock, leek & spring onion Scotch pie, served with watercress & broad bean salad with honeyed carrot puree. Dunsyre blue mini-souffles were super-light & cheesy; lamb meatballs a heavier option.
Lovers of Scottish shellfish are catered for with a generous bowl of Shetland mussels & surf clams. The latter can be tough but not these small fine fellows, in a broth so delicious we had to ask for spoons to assist the mopping up with home-made olive & herb bread and butter. This dish was the only white fishy thing to go with a wide white wine menu, ranging, as with the reds, from £16-29 per bottle, all also by the glass.
Wine merchants Corney & Barrow are behind the list here and it seemed appropriate to try their house Claret, Maison Sichel 2009, at £4.50 for a small glass, a classic example, as well as Chablis from D Vincent Dampt, £5 per glass and delicious with the shellfish. A separate selection of fine wines includes Olivier Leflaive’s good white burgundy at £35-45, or a tempting Ribera del Duero, Domaine de Pingus, also £45.
Only 3 desserts – but all appealing. We would choose the almond Drambuie sponge with choc sauce & blood orange ice-cream, & the white choc/rhubarb crème brulee, both under a fiver.