Updated 5.09.2018: with details of the evening menu and comments from head chef Nick Bramham.
As Eater London reported in June, Clerkwenwell’s essential modern British restaurant and mince-on-toast purveyors Quality Chop House is adding a wine bar to its café and shop. 200 wines will be available for drinking in or taking away, with the inevitable small plate service following on in the evenings.
Slated to open tomorrow, 3 July 2018, wines are selected by Gus Gluck, who has four years of experience at Vinoteca; his background also includes time in Australia’s Yarra Valley region. There will be a daily selection of “special, interesting wines by the glass”, to complement the bottles and half bottles that will be available at £15 corkage for a full bottle and £7.50 for a half. Quality Chop House said in a confirmation announcement:
Gus wants it to be a meeting place for people who are interested in having a conversation about wine, but also a refuge for anyone keen to be left in peace to drink whatever they like. The selection of wines will reflect the seasons, and there will be something for everyone.
In practice, this means a balance between the vanguard of natural and “low intervention” (no, or minimal, use of sulphur) winemaking and more established wineries, regions and names, instead of a dogmatic focus on either. The food served alongside the wine will be a mixture of wine bar standards — charcuterie and 24 month-aged comté cheese — and Quality Chop House stalwarts like pork pie. Smoked cod’s roe bridges the gap between the two. “Plans are afoot” for this menu to evolve as the seasons change, with the promise of dedicated wine bar dishes from Shaun Searley for autumn.
The evening menu, by the next door restaurant’s former sous chef Nick Bramham, will be introduced from Tuesday 18 September, has now been confirmed. It leans to the Mediterranean, especially Sicily, and will include dishes such as: Salumi; gildas; Vesuvio tomatoes and Trapani salt; violet artichoke, Tropea onion, burrata and mint; devilled egg, frisée and lardo; bone marrow, red onion, parsley and sumac (when Fergus Henderson met Yotam Ottolenghi?); sardines, pine nuts, raisins, wild fennel, and breadcrumbs; clams, manzanilla, chilli and garlic; steak tartare; and cheese.
In short, Bramham said the food will subscribe to Quality Chop Houses’s ethos but will be “more brazenly European, casual, fun. Small plates, chalkboard menu. Drawing influence from the great wine bars on the continent — food that is unfussy, delicious and just loves wine.”
He added that as well as using the site’s in-house butcher and “being hyper seasonal veg-wise (goes without saying really these days doesn’t it?)” the team will make use of the “best ‘store cupboard’ products available on the continent as kind of foundation ingredients.” Those, may of which are available to buy in the shop, include Navarre chickpeas, Umbrian lentils, and Cantabrian anchovies...”
The bar will be open until 10pm Tuesday — Saturday and for off-sales all day, every day.