Wine rave alert: Mattia Bianchi, co-founder of Berber & Q Shawarma Bar on Exmouth Market, is launching a monthly night called Dirt, when he will invite top sommeliers from London and elsewhere to pour, drink and talk about wines — four choices per somm — from their favourite kind of terroir.
“As much as this might sound like another boring wine gathering, Dirt is the opposite,” Bianchi said. “It is a chance to meet some of Europe’s most exciting sommeliers in a relaxed environment, drink obscure bottles at entry level prices, have a banter, eat some food and hopefully get a bit drunk!
“I’ve been wanting to host some wine events for ages, but to stay away from the usual tastings, masterclasses or winemakers’ dinners. I wanted something more fun, exciting and dynamic.” To this end, the sommeliers will compete head to head, albeit gently. Wielding their favourite examples of wines produced in a specific climate/soil type, they will prowl around pouring until their bins run dry. The first one to finish all their wine is the winner.
Stepping up on Sunday 29 October, to work the room with wines from volcanic soil, will be Heidi Kludsen of Ottolenghi, and Sandia Chang of Bubbledogs. On 19 November, Edouard-Charles Souchal from Manfreds in Copenhagen will take on Nominoe Guillebot of Lyle’s to pour interesting coastal wines, then, finally, in December, Alessandra Saponara of Fera at Claridge’s will meet Clément Jeannin from Vivant in Paris to spar with mountain wines. The nights will be dubbed Magma, Salt and Peak respectively.
Two glasses of wine are included in the ticket price of £19, along with a snack from Josh Katz’s menu of mezzes devised specially for Dirt. Otherwise on at £5–£7, they will include tahini hummus, chickpeas, zhug hot sauce and Urfa chilli; freekeh, broccoli, almonds and preserved lemon; cauliflower shawarma, pomegranate molasses, green chilli and rose; harissa chicken thigh with smashed cucumber and pickled red onion; and lamb shawarma with tahini, harissa and bread and butter pickles. Additional glasses of wine will be charged at £12 for two glasses. Ticket for each of the three nights are on sale here.
Berber & Q Shawarma Bar opened in summer 2016, a sibling to Josh Katz and Mattia Bianchi’s Middle Eastern/North African inspired Berber & Q in Haggerston.