London’s Best Wine Bars: 10 Cases Cave a Vin, Covent Garden

10casesIf you thought wine bars had evaporated long ago in a pouf of quiche and Beaujolais Nouveau, think again. A new wave of young ‘vin-trepreneurs’ is taking over London. In this new series, Jenny Mackenzie picks out the new and the good, starting with 10 Cases.

Background

The 10 Cases Bistrot in Covent Garden has recently added a shop and bar next door, which share its kitchen. Such ‘drink in the shop’ arrangements are commonplace in France and Italy, but still relatively new in the UK. 10 Cases Cave a Vin is a good place to try it.

For £12 corkage, you can sit down at the small tables with a bottle from the shelves and enjoy tapas-style snacks. Wine lovers congregate here, alongside theatre-goers and the after-work media crowd. Interesting wines are also available by the glass from £3.35, as well as ‘house’ carafes.

Owners

Dishy duo, Ian Campbell, a former chef and sommelier, and Will Palmer, a former hotel manager.

Top wine pick

The constantly changing range currently has 123 lines “on low margins with fast turnover”. This means any recommendation is probably already sold out. Trendy whites Gruner Veltliner from Austria and Alvarinho from Portugal are very popular.

Food

Jamon, fromage, steak tartare and fried squid. Sharing a kitchen with the 10 Cases Bistrot means you can call for a ‘proper meal’ through the hatch from 12-3pm and 6-10pm, should real hunger strike.

Who to take

Business meeting, pre- and post-theatre snifter, mates quickie, first date for wine lovers.

The USP

Simple, modern with easy, breezy, professional service. Ever-changing, eclectic wine range that is a delight to hard-core wine lovers, without alienating the ‘ordinary customer’. A wine-oriented tourist’s god-send.

Any downsides?

It’s a small space, so get there early. The lavs are likewise cosy.

10 Cases Cave a Vin, 18 Endell Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9HB. Twitter @10cases,Facebook

By Jenny Mackenzie

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