We were very kindly invited to a ‘preview’ of a new London restaurant which opens officially today. It brings a special emphasis on food and wine matching, and which provides a bit of fun for the vinously adventurous, (especially if they are feeling flush). There’s one in Paris already (Paris ahead of London in something in the restaurant scene – it’s rare enough these days), so this is a concept which they clearly have had some success with.
With 110 wines by the glass, ‘Les 110 de Taillevent’, is a brasserie-style restaurant owned by the Gardinier family’s Taillevent group, (which also owns Le Taillevent in Paris (lots of Michelin stars) and Les Crayères in Champagne, as well as being the family that owns Château Phélan-Ségur in Saint Estèphe).
Not only are there a lot of wines to choose from, but all dishes on the menu come with wine pairing suggestions in four price brackets – less than £8 a glass, less than £14, less than £20, and over £20 – the latter selection last night included a 2005 Chambolle Musigny les Cras from Roumier, and 1999 Haut Brion (both quite a lot over £20).
Accompanied by a fair array of wine journos and personalities (including L&S alumnus Tom Harrow, aka WineChap), we had very good squid and excellent ‘Le Vol-au-Vent’ à la financière with lamb sweetbread and crayfish tails, and a leek and chanterelle risotto. Sticking to the wine-merchant (as opposed the banker) end of the wine budget, we tried a white Irouléguy, a Moroccan Syrah (well you’ve got to try these things), a Felton Road Pinot Noir and a Barbera d’Alba, so it’s not all Classic French. Some of our friends of the fourth estate present seemed to be doing very well as we got a sniff (if not a taste) of each of the smart wines mentioned in the previous paragraph. It is also possible to have smaller 7cl mini-tastes if you want to have a different wine with a long lunch and still emerge able to go shopping.
Amongst other interesting selections on this eclectic list is 2011 DOMAINE DE MONTCALMÈS Terrasses de Larzac (we’ve still got some of the amazing 2010 of this too), some excellent rosé Champagnes from Billecart Salmon and Louis Roederer, and suggested with cheese, SIPSMITH Sloe Gin.