It was on a rainy Monday, whilst nursing a heavy head after a long weekend away, that my dining companion and I headed east to visit BOTTLES wine bar. It’s surely a testament, then, to the team behind this gem of a restaurant, that we left in an even headier mood than the weekend that preceded our visit — one that can only be conjured by a delicious meal and an exquisite Barolo.
The brainchild of a happy marriage between the expertise of the in-house Italian sommeliers and the renowned chefs from the already established Sood Family, BOTTLES might just be the slice of authentic European dining that you’ve been waiting for.
What’s the occasion?
Perfect for taking a date you’re looking to impress, as the bar is still relatively undiscovered and would be equally well-suited to a night spent with a group of friends, as to a night gazing into a partner’s eyes.
There’s a happy informality to the place, which will take the pressure off any first date nerves. However, a careful line is walked here in order to maintain a sense of exclusivity.
What’s the vibe?
This hits all the right design notes for an on-brand addition to Old Spitalfields Market (think floor-to-ceiling reclaimed fruit crates, dimmed light bulbs and exposed brickwork). Fortunately, BOTTLES brings just enough individual spark to avoid sliding into cliché — with its superior menu, interior quirks including a stand-alone vintage meat and cheese slicer, alongside particularly lovely outdoor terrace.
I have to confess being slightly confused by the soundtrack, however, which jumped merrily between Bryan Adams and Fred Buscaglione — although this was but a small distraction from an otherwise ambient setting.
What’s on the menu?
As you will have come to expect if you have enjoyed food by Sood Family, the menu is always seasonal and expertly sourced for flavours which can be given only by the best products that grow and live in specific areas of the world.
The key concept here is that the best in regional food is paired with its perfect bottle — your plate and Gabriel Glas wine glass should always be working in harmony. You can expect distinctly Italian ingredients and flavours reimagined with surprising recipes, and plates designed as smaller dishes to be shared. However, we each enjoyed a larger dish each and were comfortably well-fed.
"The best in regional food is paired with its perfect bottle..."
The Iberico pork served with fermented cherries and coconut cream enjoyed across the table from me, was every bit as delightful and the beef fillet I ordered with horseradish cream, beetroot and hazelnut. I was particularly impressed to learn too, that the kitchen operates a zero-waste policy by discarding none of their ingredients.
What should I be drinking?
The focus here is on quality wines made by independent producers and small farms showcasing regional and indigenous varieties and grapes.
Whilst the majority of labels are Italian, there are also a selection of international offerings and a small but quality selection of fine wines. To even the most cultivated of oenophile, my recommendation would be to take advantage of the expertise of your sommelier.
A special mention must be given here to aspiring theatre director-cum-sommelier Marco, whose recommendation of the 2015 Ikebana Zelige Caravent Pic-Saint-Loup to pair with my beef fillet resulted in a match made in gastronomical heaven.
What’s the damage?
Plates begin at £6.50, with a larger main dish reaching up to £26. A bottle of wine here could cost you anything from a moderate £20, to £750 for a double magnum of the 2001 Paitin Barbaresco Sori Paitin from the Piedmont region.
BOTTLES Wine Bar
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