Vinoteca: A New Place To Glug Wine In The City
Fresh from another City wine bar, the Old Shades, we arrive at Vinoteca. They might both trade in vino, but they're disparate; Vinoteca's Mad Men 1960s decor, ensconced in the mint condition Bloomberg complex, is a world away from the swarthy Dickensian atmosphere of its aged counterpart. Good news: there's room for both — estimable drinking establishments that they are.
Off the bat, an attentive Vinoteca sommelier fixes us with a bottle of exactly what we're after — a dry Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato from Piedmont — to blow the icicles away. Elsewhere on the list there's everything from dry Manzanilla aperitifs to a sparkling red from Cornwall. We can picture ourselves propping up the bar all evening, with a bottle and some salted Catalan olives. An upstairs snug, hugged in thick curtains looks a cosy spot for sipping, too.
But we're at Vinoteca for the food as much as the wine, and that transpires to be a mixed bag. The rich, fattiness of the Gressingham duck salad starter is offset by sharp orange and fennel — a promising start — yet the Cornish squid (though with the right meaty-but-not-too-chewy texture), has been grilled until bitter.
There's a similar theme with the mains; a fine slab of halibut is done no favours by its leek and mushroom sauce, which cries out for more lemon juice, white wine, black pepper — anything — to lift it. The pheasant — again, a worthy cut of meat — is underrepresented by its seasoning. Be more ballsy, and you've got fine food that deserves the fine wine accompanying it.
To compound this, it's the booze again — this time a flight of three dessert wines, including one elixir from Samos, which tastes like liquid gold — that proves Vinoteca a worthy place to pitch up of an evening.
Vinoteca City, 21 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR
Last Updated 22 December 2017