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Covent Garden Sparkling Wine Bar:
Wellington Street, just south of the Opera House, is home to Grays and Feather wine bar, specialising in sparkling wines from around the World. It’s the aim of founder Andrew Gray to introduce Londoners to a wider range of sparkling wines than Champagne and Prosecco – and to work with smaller, less well-known winemakers. And, as anything involving sparkling wine sounds good to me, I went along to find out more.
This newish bar is based in the building where Dickens ran his newspaper and the interior is an eclectic mixture of old and new, a kind of plushed up steampunk, with hidden corners, nooks and crannies that should make this place popular with small groups.
The drinks menu, as Andrew Gray explained, is designed to stretch our knowledge and understanding of the world of sparkling wine. There’s a biodynamic Franciacorta from a winery founded in 1701 that is partially fermented in amphora, there are sparkling wines from Tasmania, South Africa, Patagonia and even Japan, and there’s a list of 10 English sparkling wines – some well known, others less so. There are various Crémant wines too, though no Crémant de Loire at the moment
Lovers of fizz won’t be disappointed if they are happy to buy by the bottle, though I would personally have preferred a few more options by the glass (there are seven options with price points from £6.50 through to £13 for a 125ml pour). Or perhaps tasting flights so that those of us who hesitate to pay £79 for a bottle of Lumiere Koshu Brut from Japan can try a glass and find out what we’ve been missing. There are some great wine saver stoppers now that should make that possible.
Food is limited by the building constraints which mean that hot dishes are restricted.
We still managed quite a feast though including a molten cheese with cubes of bread to dip, a nduja and crab roll which was somewhat overwhelmed by the spicy sausage,
delicious marinated anchovies and den miso cured aubergine with anise and Habanero salsa.
There are sharing boards too- meat, cheese, fish and vegetables for £10 a piece and a mix of all four options served with mother-in-law tongue, pickles and stickies priced at £20.
For dessert, a chocolate and hazelnut tart with custard that had brownie like qualities and a ‘radical ice-cream’ which we didn’t try.
The food is actually pretty good for somewhere that is clearly intended to be closer to a bar than a restaurant and I think it would make a good alternative to some of the pre-theatre dining menus you can find in the area
And what if you don’t want fizz? Well, there’s a reasonable still wine list, a tidy cocktail list and a few other options. And, teas, coffees and a few soft drinks including Jarr Kombucha and Mate.
It’s a welcome addition to the Covent Garden ‘Grazing’ scene and I suspect will be very popular both for pre-theatre drinks and for those looking for somewhere to chill away from the main tourist throng. And if you like what you drink you can also order from a selection online for home delivery.
26 Wellington Street,