Winemakers Deptford


The kitchen has started firing at Winemakers Deptford, the new wine bar on Deptford High Street. Helping out in the background with these chaps has its perks: a justifiable excuse to drop in and try more of the dishes that Head Chef Rory Shannon (ex-Canton Arms) and Andrew Gray (Petersham Nurseries) have been conjuring up.


Crab croquetas are a staple on the menu, oozing with a wicked brown/white meat béchamel; Lincolnshire Poacher cheese soufflé is a darn beauty; fresh pappardelle (Andrew the pasta whizz) with wild garlic pesto; dry aged Angus beef rib with bone marrow (loads of wobbling marrow), excellent béarnaise, and impeccable chips (frites style, hand-cut)

Charcuterie is made in-house by Rory, and Andrew has been making Rowies on Sundays, a butter drenched Aberdeen bread roll. Sticky Middlewhite pork with Shaoxing broth and peanut pickle has made an appearance.... 


Wines are all imported by owner John Baum, and are worth the trip alone – the opening of the kitchen has added the final flourish.


This Week

Smoking Goat,

Elystan Street,

​Sheng High, Chez Bruce

Monday at Smoking Goat now means one thing: Offal Mondays. Salted beef tail green curry; lamb's liver Nahm Dtok; chicken liver sticky rice; duck offal laab; crisp pig's ear with pickled watermelon; fish head curry; pig's head curry.

Menu will change slightly each week, depending on what the kitchen have been prepping durinhg the week. We've been pouring magnums of Beaujolais by the glass from Karim Vionnet, too. Raucous, smoky, booze fuelled, and now offal fuelled – Smoking Goat is the dive-bar that sucks you in....and sends you staggering out four hours later. Great fun.

Dinner at the quietly stylish Elystan Street in Chelsea, owned by Phil Howard and Rebecca Mascarenhas. Ravioli of oxtail with smoked and roasted onion, followed by tagine of chicken with melted onions, spinach, green onions and preserved lemon. Freshly made strozzapreti pasta with wild garlic pesto – worthy of the best Italian joints in town. Great martinis, too.



Shengjian bao fried dumplings at Walthamstow Village Market, filled with chicken broth. Shanghai dumplings made by an ex-Yauatcha chef, Felix Tse. Superior street food, and very good for chasing hangovers back whence they came. They've been pitching up here every Saturday 10am-3pm. Walthamstow, finally, is slowly kicking into gear.


Lunch at Chez Bruce is always a happy day....Monday lunch? Yeah, it happened. Fish soup with the classsic accompaniments of rouille, Gruyère and croutons – a Platonic ideal of how good fish soup can be in the hands of a serious kitchen. The humdinger dish was confit rabbit with stuffed morels, potato pancakes, swiss chard and tarragon. Worth every minute of the schlep to Wandsworth Common. Chez Bruce could/should be a monthly fixture in any London restaurant lover's diary.





Nero d’Avola/Montepulciano 2015,

Delinquente, Australia

Sometimes a label jumps out from the shelf and gives you a double palmed smack on the chops (Eric Morecambe style), daring you to pick it up and buy it. Enter Delinquente with their eye-catching bold images, drawn by Adelaide street artist ‘Ankles’, the edgy faces looking like members of cartoon band Gorillaz.

Riverland is Australia’s largest wine region (rarely seen mentioned on bottles) and is also one of the biggest bulk wine producing regions in the world, with many big brands sourcing their grapes from here.

Con-Greg Grigoriou buys grapes from smaller growers he trusts, who work their vines organically, with Italian varietals representing the thrust of his production. He wants to make wines that are pure, drinkable and ‘smashable’ – this dark, brooding number jumped off the shelf at Forest Wines in Walthamstow, and was duly smashed down alongside barbecued lamb ribs in the garden.




Natural Born Griller

So, I hear of a place called The Mash Inn, owned by a chap called Nick Mash. First thoughts veer towards “wow, why name what was formerly known as The Three Horseshoes after yourself – bit cocky that, isn’t it?

Turns out that Nick is part of the family who now run Mash Purveyors, suppliers of fruit and vegetables to top hotels and restaurants, and with a history of farming in the area stretching back 150 years. He has also run successful food-led pubs in London. Ok mate, I’ll let you off…

This 18th Century pub sits in an almost impossibly perfect setting, atop the crest of a hill that sweeps down into the Buckinghamshire hamlet of Bennet End, near Radnage. We’re in posh country pad territory: rock singer Jethro Tull used to live a short walk away at the eight bedroom, tennis court and stables bedecked, multi-million pound ‘Pophleys’ (once coveted by a house hunting Tony Blair), a 16th Century farm now inhabited by the co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Cowabunga.

Read on...

The Black Garlic

Turkish food has been feeling the love like never before over the last few years, helped by a number of young bucks (Turks?) who are finally shifting things away from the ‘identikit mangals’ around Stoke Newington, Dalston and Green Lanes, which often look – and indeed, start to taste – all a bit samey.   

So when I catch wind of a couple of chaps doing something a bit different at a recent opening in Leyton, I peg it down there. Suleyman Kahraman and Sameer Shahzada are the chefs/owners, and have previously had stints between them with Giorgio Locatelli, Jason Atherton, Heston Blumenthal and Raymond Blanc: not your average Turkish kitchen team’s CV. 

The site is on the former Gym’s Kitchen, a ‘protein based restaurant’ geared towards dumbbell botherers – nothing much has changed inside, the interior not having shaken off the soulless ‘anti-restaurant’ design ethic of the previous incumbents (muscle bound characters still adorn the doors of the loos), so cash has clearly not been spaffed on the interior….yet. I rat-a-tat-tat several visits over a few days. Turns out they have some moves.

Böbrek Kavurma (lamb’s kidneys) arrive in their own cutesy iron skillet, and set things off at a cracking pace. Juicy, well seasoned kidneys (no honk, cleaned well), a flourish of red onions, a squeeze of lemon. Moppage and more moppage with flatbread, chasing round the last sticky slick of sauce.

Kuzu Kavurma is a beauty, tomatoes and onions cooked down into silken sweetness, chunks of lamb carrying the char of the grill, with rendered, wobbling nuggets of flavour packed fat amidst a muddle of Turkish peppers and spring onions. Mopped up with plenty of flatbread. A belter.

Karni Yarik is an artful interpretation of the classic oven baked stuffed aubergine dish, the ‘split belly’ of slowly cooked aubergine stuffed with minced meat, onions, and tomatoes – here, the mince is spewing out and around rather than neatly packed in, and other than needing a grind of salt to perk it up, is excellent.

Plating is considered, but not wanky. Yes, there’s some wooden board action going on, but this is forgiven when some of the dishes on these are served in their own cast-iron cookware, keeping everything at exocet heat until the last morsel. And what’s this? Chefs bringing the dishes from the kitchen to the tables? Lordy, this has never happened in the huddle of Turkish grills in N4.

A promising opening. BYO wine seals the deal. Grab a bottle from Yardarm five minutes away on Francis Road.


An early visit to Lorne in the formerly depressing restaurant wasteland of Victoria (A. Wong was at the vanguard of the upturn a few years ago, a couple of doors away), reveals some smart cooking from chef and co-owner Peter Hall, and a razor sharp wine list by fellow owner Katie Exton. They bring some tasty pedigree with them, including The Square, Chez Bruce, The River Cafe, Brawn and Benu in San Francisco – the expectation is on them to be shaking some impressive moves from the kick off. Cuttlefish is deftly fried with a boldly seasoned semolina/cornflour crumb, alongside  a punchy romesco humming with the addition of a bisque sauce that speaks of simmered prawn heads and their friends. Bream with baby gem, puntarelle and monk's beard comes in a sonorous, beautifully balanced dashi broth, the fish having had a quick brine before cooking: cleansing, ascetic, echoes of Japan. A dessert dodger (me) managed to enjoy a homely Yorkshire curd tart with 'builder's tea ice cream' which does indeed spookily taste like just like builder's tea...I later find out that Yorkshire Tea bags play a leading role.

Grower Champagne Veuve Fourny 1er Cru as the house fizz at £9.50 sets the tone, and when you see Produttori del Barbaresco and Kumeu River by the glass on the first page, you know you'll be in safe hands. Fleur de Thénac Rouge is one of the best value reds in town.

Lorne is wedged between Turkish restaurant Kazan and Znips hair salon (I missed it walking past four times), but there's enough going on here to pull me back again soon – and in this fervid London restaurant opening climate, that's becoming something of a rarity.

Going Solo
Noble Rot, Issue N12

"Just for one please.” – How many times have I uttered this? A lot. I love it. I’m well up for this solo dining lark me...

A wine region and grape can be on the top table for years and then suddenly fall from grace. Wine writer Zeren Wilson charts the rise, fall… and rise again of the likes of Chardonnay and Merlot to find out why our tastes change.

Read on

Zeren Wilson enthuses about the evolution in dining and drinking options in his ‘hood – “We’ve never had so many food writers traipsing out of Central line stations...”

Read on

No words, just names and links. A few places we're bouncing in
and out of... New openings, old school faves, our current hit-list

Zeren Wilson

— It started with venison medallions and a Barossa Valley Shiraz: the dish that sent me down the path of food and wine while living in Sydney. A career change from advertising began by joining Oddbins in 2003, then to independent merchant The Winery (specialising in German Riesling, Burgundy, Piemonte, California), moving to selling wine to London restaurants, and a stint as sommelier at Zucca in Bermondsey — the writing kicked in after all of this. I’ve written for various publications including The Evening Standard, The Guardian, Christie’s Magazine, The London Magazine, Noble Rot, Completely London, Caterer, and Ocado magazine. I consult on wine lists for restaurants, recent projects including Smoking Goat, Kiln, Coombeshead Farm, Bibo, Arabica Bar and Kitchen, Frontline Club, Cây Tre and Martello Hall.