Sapling, a new-wave wine-focused “home from home” neighbourhood restaurant in Dalston, will launch on Thursday 15 March. Head chef Jon Beeharry, formerly of Bistrotheque, Market Café, and Rita’s at The Prince Arthur, will join founder Bob Ritchie and general manager-sommelier Dan Whine (ex-Conran Restaurants, Plateau, Liberty Wines and trained winemaker.)
The restaurant will offer a weekly-changing list of between 30 and 40 wines, including a grower champagnes and other “notable” sparkling wines. A “core list” will focus on varieties from producers “who have passion for what they create and express purity of a place with traditional vinification” (natural, biodynamic low-intervention, such is the inclination of new-wave operators.)
All of those wines will be available to order by the glass. A second, larger list, will feature over 100 other wines, available by the bottle or to sample via Coravin (a system that allows a glass to be obtained without opening the bottle.)
Beeharry’s seasonal menu will seek to “champion the very best local produce and utilise it to create unique, uncomplicated dishes” — a quality he says was learnt while working under chef David Gingell (now Primeur, Westerns Laundry) at Bistrotheque.
A sample menu, which Eater has been reassured was not the inspiration behind this recent viral parody, has been given as:
- Dusty Knuckle bread, butter
- Colchester rock oysters, horseradish mignonette
- Selection of seasonal pickled vegetables
- Gougère, smoked cods roe
- Scottish langoustines, carotene butter and lardo
- Middle White pork terrine, white grape and watercress
- Dexter tartar, egg yolk, Ossau (sheep’s milk cheese)
- Hake, cockle and potato sauce, monks beard
- Delica pumpkin, Castelfranco and hazelnut dressing
- Medjool date pudding, pistachio crème anglaise
- Set cream, Yorkshire forced rhubarb, blood orange and thyme
In a statement, owner Bob Ritchie said:
It’s really exciting to be opening Sapling in Dalston. I’ve lived 10 minutes away in Newington Green for almost a decade and Dalston has been such a big part of my life over that time. Sapling has been five years in the making and it’s been an amazing journey.
I started with weekly tutored tastings at the Berry Bros’ Pickering Cellar, which then evolved into wine schools in Beaune, multiple wine exams, nearly 2 years of searching for the right site and then leaving my previous career at the end of 2016 to make Sapling happen. It still doesn’t quite feel real! The team and I are very much looking forward to sharing the continuation of this journey with everyone in the area.
Alongside a list of small plates, Sapling will feature a “Larder menu” which has “been curated to complement the wines on offer and mirror the restaurant’s exploratory philosophy.” In practice, that means “lightly cured, delicately flavoured rare-breed meats from celebrated independent producers such as Hackney based Black Hand, Cobble Lane, Great Glen in Fortwilliam and Cornish Charcuterie.” The cheese component of the Larder menu will be primarily from La Fromagerie in Highbury whose seasonal varieties so, like the wine, will rotate.
The restaurant will also take reservations. Seemingly one of its major points of difference to the new-wave wine restaurant-bars (such as P Franco, 40 Maltby Street, and Sager & Wilde) in London to which it will be inevitably be compared.