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Perfect pairings – half glasses complement excellent food at 28-50:
*Update – two out of three of the 28-50 wine bars and kitchens have closed recently. You can still visit the Marylebone Lane branch of 28-50 and enjoy the same style of food and selection of wines*
28-50 is one of those places that has never disappointed. It helps that I like the concept of a long wine list with everything available by the glass and most things by the half glass. It helps that I like the food. But, nevertheless, every time I go back, whether to Maddox Street, Fetter Lane or Marylebone, I worry that things might have changed.
Turning up to the Maddox Street branch of 28-50 during the Christmas break I wasn’t sure what to expect. The restaurant was discretely decorated, warm and cosy. Scandi style, it felt very Hygge – a great place to come in from the cold. 28-50 is part of the Texture group of restaurants – their flagship is the Michelin starred Texture, run by chef patron Agnar Sverrisson from Iceland who trained there before joining the team at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, where he held the role of head chef.
Champagne to start the evening is always good and here we were offered a delicious, biscuity glass of Champagne Henriot, Souverain, Brut N.V. – a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Apparently, Henriot is one of the oldest family-owned houses in Champagne and has been owned by the same family since the late 1700s. The House focuses n developing strong bonds in the world of gastronomy, a fitting champagne for 28-50, where you can buy almost all the wines in 75ml measures so that your food and wine pairings can be perfect. We went on to enjoy a fabulous dinner with those perfect wine pairings that make you really respect the art of the Sommelier.
Bread to nibble on came with a light whipped Skyr butter while we picked our food for the evening.
In the end, we decided to share a seafood platter to start and indulged in the pricier option on the menu (£58.50). However, it includes half a Lobster, 300g of mussels, six tangy and plump Blackwater wild oysters, 6 nicely prepared and well-cooked prawns, 300g of clams and a neat portion of crab salad. All served with lemon and shallot vinegar.
The sommelier’s suggestion was spot on. She pointed out that the lobster really needed one wine, while the oysters needed something drier and crisper. Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, L’Innatendu, Jeremy Huchet and Olivier Hodebert 2016 from the Loire Valley, France, was fabulous with the oysters and what I drank with all the shellfish other than the lobster and crab.
Her suggestion for the lobster was Rias Baixas, Albariño, Lagar de Bouza. 2016 Galicia, a crisp, elegant and fresh peachy yet ultra dry white. Delicious.
Confit duck leg was a festive plateful with spiced red cabbage, cranberries and a rich duck sauce. Firm and succulent, this was one of the nicest confits I’ve had. I suspect it was more lightly cooked than some of the versions I’ve tried at home (I’ve made my own in moments of culinary enthusiasm!)
The red wine pairing for the duck, a wine from the Alentejo Portugal, Monte das Promessas. Quinta da Boavista 2016 was a Syrah, Touriga Nacional blend, fruity and full of blackberry notes.
Meanwhile, my pescatarian companion enjoyed a dish of cinnamon seasoned cod with barley and prawns served with a saffron-infused bisque. Perfectly cooked and ultra-fresh, he was happy and I suspect would have licked the bowl given half the chance.
His pairing was what he described as a toasty brioche caramel Roussillon Corbières, Ollieux Romanis, Cuvée Classique, Le Hameau des Ollieux 2016.
We’d ordered totally unnecessary but very delicious sides of crisp, fluffy centred triple cooked chips and truffled cauliflower cheese. Next time, I will skip the starter so that I can actually eat the sides and then enjoy a dessert too.
In the interest of research, we did order a sweet course. For him a dish of natural Icelandic skyr with lingonberries, mint, granola which he described as startlingly fresh and given an acid sweetness by the lingonberries. As a wine pairing, he was offered a honeyed Germany Mosel Riesling Spätlese, N9, Markus Molitor 2009
Meanwhile, I enjoyed a nutty hazelnut parfait with vanilla ice cream and chocolate crumb paired with a honey sweet Pacherenc du Vic Bihl, Chateau Aydie, 2014.
28-50 never fails to impress me. It’s in no way pompous but well executed, fresh and perfectly thought out dining with wine pairings that work and that allow the diner to try mouthfuls of some of the best wines available. I love the 75ml measure option which is offered for everything except champagne. But who would want a 75ml glass of champagne?
On that note, in addition to an excellent value set menu (£24.50 for three courses), you can enjoy a bottomless Champagne lunch on Saturdays at Maddox Street and Marylebone Lane for a £20 premium. So if anyone fancies trying it, I’m in!
15-17 MARYLEBONE LANE
LONDON W1U 2NE
020 7486 7922