Lacking the sense of excitement implied by the name, this South Bank wine bar is perhaps of most note for offering free Mediterranean-style nibbles to early-evening drinkers.
he rather intriguing name drew us to this South Bank newcomer, near Blackfriars Bridge. It turns out that it’s a handy enough destination if you should find yourself in that neck of the woods, but – with the qualification at the end of this short piece – we would find it difficult to recommend any sort of trip.
Firstly, it’s not at all theatrical. The space is carved out of a building otherwise occupied by a Travelodge. Let’s just say it does not transcend its location.
Secondly, the wines – though perfectly adequate – fell well short of any sort of distinction. As a sweeping generalisation, the wine lists in London’s restaurants are probably of greater note, by international standards, than their menus. In the face of such competition, the list here, frankly, doesn’t cut it.
Thirdly, the food. Let’s just pose one question: why would any restaurant which wasn’t avowedly ‘French’ offer a ‘classic’ (cotton wool) London baguette, when almost any other type of bread – from ciabatta to wholemeal – would almost certainly be done much better? What followed at our three-course lunch for one was not particularly bad, but nothing about it really upset the mundane impression that had been made by the bread basket.
But let’s end on an upbeat note. What we didn’t get to sample was the early-evening menu (5.30pm - 8pm), but it apparently offers buffet nibbles – to those drinking modest quantities of wine – free, gratis and for nothing. That sounds like the sort of value that really might be worth crossing bridges for.