28-50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen in Mayfair:
A little while ago I posted a preview for the latest 28-50 bar/restaurant opening in Mayfair. I was quite excited to read about it this sister restaurant to existing ones in Fetter Lane and Marylebone Lane – the concept of simple well cooked food paired with an accessible but comprehensive wine list suits my personal taste. From a quick look at the menu it is clear that the food is unfussy but, in principle given the sourcing it should be excellent quality. So, I was rather pleased to be invited to review for lunch.
My instinct was right, it’s the sort of place I can see myself going back to on a regular basis. After all, who wouldn’t love somewhere that offers half a lobster and a glass of Bollinger for Saturday lunch, a snip at £20. This time, my dining companion The Hedonist and I ate from the main menu, the pricing is very reasonable, with set lunches at just under £16 and £19 during the week, unless you are in the mood for Caviar you should end up with a reasonable bill.
28-50 does have a splendid range of wines on offer and interestingly, you can have a 75ml measure of almost everything on the wine list (the exception is champagne). It’s an excellent idea and one that means you can afford to try a variety of wines. Our wines were selected for us by the sommelier and we started with an aperitif of Malagousia Domaine Geravassiliou from Greece – light and crisp – a pretty good substitute for my standard choice of prosecco or champagne.
My self-indulgent starter was a rustic style Foie Gras terrine, which came with rhubarb chutney and sour dough toast. To me the chutney had a convincing taste of rhubarb and apple, with a little more apple than expected but in in a very good way. For wine, a Savennieres ‘clos de la marche’ domaine du petit metris. Although I’m no expert, I have been wine tasting in the Loire and met many of the Savennieres producers. This was minerally with notes of honeysuckle. Very delicious and a great idea for a lunch-time accompaniment to Foie Gras that would more normally be served with Sauternes.
The Hedonist picked the Nicoise salad, a pretty plate of perfectly cooked quail eggs, salad leaves, potatoes and yellow fin tuna. Beautifully composed it looked delicious. His wine was from Portugal, 2010 Pynga from the Lisbon region – a dry white blend of three grapes (arinto/Antao Vaz and Verdelho).
Main course for me was a grilled half lobster. Simple beautifully cooked food , as in this case, is impressive. Grilled lobster can become rubbery very quickly. Or, it arrives nearly cold. This was beautifully presented, cracked so that I didn’t need to dissect the shell over lunch and was really perfectly cooked. I was offered a glass of St Joseph Domaine Courbis from the Rhone Valley to accompany my food and happily downed the citrusy full bodied white, rather an unusual wine, but utterly delicious.
Hunger got the better of the Hedonist who chose a substantial Icelandic fish stew. Cod, potatoes, cheese and rye bread – a real winter warmer. His wine pairing was Verdicchio dei Casteli di Jesi.
Now, there is a point at which you should really give up. But, the desserts on offer sounded (and were) delicious. The Hedonist had a pistachio crème brulee which I believe was paired with a 2008 Nectar de Samos – a Greek sweet wine, while I had poached fig with white chocolate mousse and spiced red wine with a glass of 2009 Breganze Torcolato Maculan, Vespalolo Italy.
All of this food sounds quite decadent. But prices at 28-50 are really very reasonable, with starters around £7 and main course mostly between £12 and £16. Add to that a ‘sampling’ wine list where you can enjoy half measures of top quality wines from £2.50 up to about £8.00 and you have a dream lunch venue for me. I’ve developed a real taste for matching wine to my food – but, equally I am conscious of not over indulging (at lunch or any other time of the day!). Maybe next time I’ll graduate to the ‘grown-up’ restaurant, Texture, the Michelin starred restaurant run by the same duo of Xavier Rousset and Agnar Sverrisson, but maybe I’ll just content myself with an excellent find for high quality eating and drinking at a sensible price in central London.
28-50 Wine and Food Kitchen
17-19 Maddox Street
London W1S 2QH