Archive for the ‘Rest of France’ Category

Angelus, the restaurant – not the wine

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I’m getting quite used to Opentable.  I don’t always book through the website  (or natty iPhone app) but it isn’t half useful for finding a table at short notice.  Especially in London.  Especially if you want to eat within a caber toss of where you happen to be.  And I happened to be in Lancaster Gate, if you are posh.  Or Bayswater if you are not.

Opentable threw up Angelus on Bathurst St.  Was it to be an homage to a great wine, or a mare?  (“Mayor” – see what I did there? Dicky daughters and all that).


River Restaurant at the Lowry Hotel , Manchester

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

In the world of dining out, if there is one place in Manchester where you could pretend you are in London, it is on the banks of the dirty Irwell.  I say dirty in the sense that if you jumped in a canal barge and headed south you would find yourself at Old Trafford, home to a certain team that plays in red.

This is exactly what the majority of residents of the hotel were doing on Sunday 8 May.   Not all by boat.  Some chauffeured by limousine, taxi, helicopter or rickshaw.  Chelsea and United fans altogether, all up for the day from London.

But it is more than the famous and rich patronage of the hotel that is capitalesque.   The restaurant ambience, service and food bring to mind upmarket places in Notting Hill and Knightsbridge, rather than Cheetham Hill and Chorlton-cum Hardy.

The River Restaurant is styled a bit like Boxwood Café (RIP) with the atmosphere of Scott’s of Mayfair, only with more daylight flooding in, and a larger ratio of famous faces to plebs.

My choice of aperitif exposed my desire to join the elite, an aspirational effervescent bubble short of London pricing, Billecart-Salmon at £10.50.


O’Vineyards O’syrah 2005

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

If you want to meet a modern, unstuffy, social media friendly wine maker with flair and charm you should search out Ryan O’Connell.

I met him at EWBC, Vienna in 2010 and, whilst it would be an overstatement to say that we fell in love, it is true to say that I looked out for his wines when I got back to the UK.


Draper’s Arms, Islington

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

In a very twee part of London, where, in more controversial political times Tone used to live, lies a pub.  I wonder if this was a New Labour den at some point.

Keeping my lefty tendencies to one side, (I dress to the left), I booked through Opentable and consumed a pre-match meal.  The glorious Man City made their first Wembley visit since 1999. I made my first visit to Islington since Morgan M‘s in 2008.

The Drapers Arms has a decent array of beers, a pretty and well priced wine list, and a menu that people of my age can read without glasses, which is all too rare. A bottle of 2009 Brouilly was excellent value at £31, and once given 10 minutes in an ice bucket was very drinkable. After only 10 minutes it was turned from flabby Bazooka Joe bubblegum to tight candy foam teeth and who wouldn’t prefer the teeth?  But, why serve Beaujolais at 25 degrees in the first place?

Beaujolais at The Drapers Arms


Le Café Anglais Oyster Bar, London

Friday, March 11th, 2011

I’ve been impressed by Café Anglais on a number of occasions but I thought it was famous for roast chicken, and not particularly great for solo diners.  So, ever since they emailed me to say an oyster bar had opened I’ve been itching to try it.


Château de Nervers, Brouilly, 2009

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I am in the envious position of having tickets to see Elbow in their home town on 25 March.  So tonight, Matthew, I’m doing a bit of cramming.

Have you heard the new Elbow album?  It was released today and I downloaded it from iTunes for the princely sum of £10.99.  Listening to it now, I am not yet totally enamoured.  But that almost certainly means that, with two or three more listens, I will love it.  Guy Garvey’s sharp “northern” lyrics combined with soulful melodies seem to appeal as much to men, as to women, despite the music being a bit soft for Northern blerks.  I’d like to see Guy proclaimed King of Manchester and maybe I’d share a curry with him at Akbars, the most royal of Manchester Ruby restos.

The self proclaimed King of Beaujolais, Georges Duboeuf, sent me some Brouilly, via the Wine Society who debited my account to the rather commonly sum of £8.75.  Château de Nervers, Brouilly, 2009, is from a legendary Bojo vintage.  Do you believe the hype?


La Gramière, Syrah 2007

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Amy has been kind enough to allow me to taste a couple of samples from La Gramière in the past, and I loved them, but this is the first time I have actually bought a bottle.  Mind you, at £16.99 from Naked Wines, it better be good!


Trenel Fleurie, 2009

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Beaujolais 2009 is reputed by Wine Society marketing materials as even better than 2003 and 2005.  Since I really enjoyed wines from both those vintages, I was prepared to fork out £150 for a case of some of the finer ones, like this Fleurie.  Normally tasting of Bazooka Joe and about as serious as a school playground, wines from this most charming of villages are great summer barbecue and salad wines.

But this year, there is more headmaster than pupil in the wines.  No hint of bubblegum in Trenel, but a lovely zingy tartness tasting of ever so slightly unripe strawberries and tinned pineapple.  My other selections were from Moulin à Vent and Morgon.  I expect them to be even more serious and maybe long lasting, not least based on their more expensive price tag.

From the Wine Society at £9.95

Domaine de Gournier, 2009

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

If there is a wine region in the world right now that is in the ascendance, it surely is the South of France and, specifically, the Languedoc.  Partly driven by credit crunch belt tightening, and partly by improved quality, and wider availability (in the UK, at any rate).

This stonker came via the Wine Society from Cévennes at a mere £5.75.  At this price it is hard to fault.

Rich, earthy, root vegetables and plums, well worthy of your attention.  Follow WART advice and stick it in the fridge for half an hour before opening.

Château du Cèdre Cahors, 2006

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Tall and tanned, and young and lovely was the girl from Ipanema.  But I’ve been getting more luck from the South of France recently.  Of sorts.  This young lady, for example, going by the seductive name of Château du Cèdre turned out to have a huge pair of bollocks.  More Manchester Pride than Brazilian carnival babe.

Rich, fruity, yet smooth and soapy.  It is a bit like drinking coffee from an earthenware pot whilst munching on a raspberry teabag.  But if you can stand the tannins, it is conclusive proof that you can build a wine sturdier than a tranny’s thong at only 13° ABV.  One in the eye for Mr Parker?

I would recommend following WART instructions and taking this down from room to cellar temperature, to avoid scalding your tongue.

Available from Costco at £11.73 – this feels like good value to me.