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Nothing Amis
Latest Post And a love story (I think), of all strange things, so late in the century, so late in the goddamned day.”
Martin Amis, London Fields

London Fields was just a book title for me, for years: just a book title. A bloody great novel. The coruscating prose of Amis hooked me in, and it was, for a while, love. It probably still is.

Then London Fields became a stop that I hurtled past on the way to and from Liverpool Street, a forlorn looking station with a bit of blurred green in the distance and then it was gone, just before Bethnal Green appeared into view - every time clutching the thought ‘just like the book’.

Now look at the state of it. London Fields, that is. Fresh from hosting the thrilling Thai residency of Andy Oliver’s Som Saa, there’s plenty going on around here, a short spit from the Grand Union Canal. There’s the arrival of Lardo’s development kitchen Lonzo, Patty & Bun, Il Cudega, Leo Carreira installed at Climpson’s Arch, and a host of ever improving openings on Broadway Market, including one of the most gorgeous butchers in town at Hill and Szrok. London Fields is finally living up to its rather shouty name: ‘Hey London, check us out, we have London in our name….we must be more London than, well, London’.

We know we’re in very safe hands with a wine list under Jack’s aegis, but still end up throwing comedy ‘double-take’ glances on a first visit, at the two Champagnes by the glass: Pascal Agrapart’s 1er Cru ‘Les 7 Cru’ NV, and Marguet’s 1er Cru ‘Blanc de Noirs’ Extra Brut NV. Both at £10 a glass. £10? You’ll pay a hell of a lot more for these elsewhere, and those ‘elsewhere’ places are likely to be starchy linen-clothed Michelin star venues. This sets the stall out from the kick-off...

Read on...
This Week

Pristine beetroot cured smoked salmon and comforting ‘Coq au Riesling’ (strong boned French Landaise chicken braised in Riesling) at Bellanger, the new Corbin and King offering on Islington Green. Boudin Blanc sausages of spiced pork and veal, and Käsekreiner (pork and garlic with Emmental cheese in the middle) are beauties. Soup à la Bière is a novel restaurant phenomenon — a soup worth ordering.

Soothing rabbit lasagne with mustard béchamel at The Ninth, Jun Tanaka’s new restaurant on Charlotte Street. Ossobucco tortellini with bone marrow (great), but the highlight of King Prawn Macaroni with ginger and chives, in a rich prawn stock, took the plaudits.
I've helped Blacklock (Big
Chops, Skinny Chops, Soho
basement) put together a little
list of wines for their new
blackboard. Friendly cash margins means great drinking without
spaffing over the odds. Chops on
a grill alongside some cracking
wines —

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011,
Restless River
Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

Cult Syrah 2013, BK Wines
Adelaide Hills, Australia

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011,
Ridge Vineyards Sonoma, USA

Pinot Noir 'Laissez Faire' 2014, Cherubino Pemberton, Australia

Nero d'Avola 2013, Fox Gordon
Adelaide Hills, Australia

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Riesling 2012, Sybille Kuntz
Mosel, Germany

'Kortpad Kaptoe' 2014,
Blank Bottle Wellington, South Africa

Chardonnay 'Graviers' 2012, Stephane Tissot Arbois, France

Riesling 2013, Clos Clare
Watervale, Australia

'Toru' (Gewürztraminer/ Riesling/Pinot Gris) 2013,
Te Whare Ra
Marlborough, New Zealand

& Wine'

"Yeah, I’ll have a ‘Kevin Bacon’ burger and a bottle of one of the best Pinot Noirs in California, please…” — a sentence like this has become a reality at Lucky Chip’s first permanent restaurant ‘Burgers and Wine’. Owner Ben Denner has been almost as obsessive about great wine as he has been about making a good burger, since first pitching up in a trailer in Netil Market, London Fields, back in 2011. The new site in Dalston delivers some of the Lucky Chip favourites alongside Galician rib-eye steak, Chicken Parmigiana, King Scallops with XO sauce, and some deviously good Onion Bhaji Corndogs. To marry a starry wine list to this kind of menu shows confidence and a fair degree of cockiness: I like it. Jamie Kutch’s elegant Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir; Klaus Keller’s ‘Von der Fels’ Riesling, one of the finest winemakers in Germany; Pahlmeyer Merlot and Chardonnay, a 'Big Dog' Napa producer offered at tempting prices; Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling, another fine Napa outfit…and so it goes on. ‘Cult Thursdays’ will see a top wine opened and offered

by the glass at cost price — last week it was Opus One 2008, one of California’s highest profile (and finest) Cabernet Sauvignon blends. A glass of that with a ‘Royal Wit Cheese’ burger…
Wine is good for you

"A meal without wine is unthinkable for some. Being in a restaurant sober and not witnessing the cut and thrust of the dining room; missing that moment when the volume seems to ‘pop’, usually around 9pm, would make me consider why I was there at all...

Hoi Polloi
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Zeren Wilson ponders the often-snubbed ‘house wine’ and assures us that frugal drinking in London is better than it has been before.

“Monsieur, with this House Ferrero Rocher Wine, you are really spoiling Ous...”. Or something like that...

CODE Quarterly
Issue 5
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The Menu Fetishist Returns

“Here’s our menu, let me know if you have any questions...” The phrase that launched a thousand meals. You read, you choose, you ask, they bring: no titillation here, nothing to see, please move along. You’re a menu fetishist? You sick bastard...

Noble Rot
Issue N8
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Wine List Man vs Inverted Snob

Do you really know about wine? Or is all your swaggering braggadocio about to be mercilessly skewered by the secret wine buff in your midst?

Noble Rot
Issue 6
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Written Welcome
to K–Town

There’s something in the air and it’s Korean flavoured. Zeren Wilson finds out why Korean cuisine is the food of the moment

May 2015
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Written Blue

Spring; The menu bristles with the confidence that means no frilly language, just laconic listings of ingredients with the odd nod to a cooking technique here or there:

Completely London
Spring 2015
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Written Thai Lords

Thai cuisine is on
the verge of a re-appraisal in the UK, with new restaurants cooking regional dishes that really highlight the depth and diversity of the food. Zeren Wilson reports

Caterer & Hotelkeeper,
February 2014
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Written Lambrusco

Having fallen from grace, Lambrusco is now making a comeback in its traditional form as a deep, dry,
sparkling wine from Emilia Romagna. Zeren Wilson hails the return of this once–derided drop.

Christie’s Magazine,
October 2014
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Written California

The wines of Napa Valley and Sonoma County are back in the frame, their characteristic exuberance tempered with the restraint that first wowed the world in 1976. Zeren Wilson, reports

Christie’s Magazine,
November 2014
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What to do at the end of a meal lasting several hours and in need of a refreshing 'pick-me-up' ? A whip-snappingly dry Riesling is what we piled into on this occasion. The Frédéric Émile is made only in the best years, and from the finest vineyard plots from the Ribeauvillé sites in Geisberg and Osterberg overlooking the winery. 2007 is said to be the driest ever vintage for this wine, and we must have enjoyed this muscular, lime-charged, vibrant half-bottle as we ordered a second immediately on finishing the first. The final flourish of a great meal at Adam Byatt's refurbished Trinity restaurant in Clapham.
Wine of the week

Riesling 'Cuvée Frédéric Émile' 2007, Trimbach, Alsace, France



Choosing who to trust when looking for wine recommendations can be a bit of a vinous minefield. Do you trust the blurb on the back of the bottle? Is the supermarket spiel to be trusted? Is that friend of yours as clued up as they think they are? Starting with a trusted source of recommendations is a good place to start before you wade in with your cash.

So when a team are assembled with serious industry nous, involving three Masters of Wine (a gruelling qualification that only the very best can attain, currently 322 in the world), it’s worth listening to what they’ve got to say. Wine Trust help to cut through the confusing retail offers we are often presented with, choosing wines based foremost on their quality AND value in any given category.

I’ve worked with one of the MW team, Nick Adams, while selling wine to restaurants a few years ago, and he’s exactly the kind of chap that I would trust when asking for an opinon on a wine — he pointed me towards the Langlois Brut Crémant recently, and it was a belter. Take a look at what they have to offer…...