Last Updated on November 23, 2019 by Fiona Maclean
Piccadilly’s New Hidden Secret – Haymarket Wine House.
Finding somewhere to grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine or three in central London without having to take out a mortgage can be quite a challenge. Generally, if the wine and food are good, the prices will be sky-high. Of course, you can opt for coffee and a sandwich at Pret or Costa and you can head to Soho for a cut-price Chinese feast. But, if what you want is good quality wine and simple but good quality food at a sensible price, it can be quite a challenge.
Haymarket Wine House looks pricey and you might wonder where the catch is. In prime central London, surrounded by theatres and expensive hotels and just a stones’ throw from Picadilly Circus and Leicester Square, this is the kind of place where you walk out with a bill for £200 or more. At the Haymarket Wine House, that could be challenging, unless you decide to indulge in some of the fine wines on offer.
All the wines on offer are chalked up on a board – and there’s everything on offer from champagne to house wine. Perhaps the best option, especially if you arrive during happy hour, is to ask for a wine paddle for £15 which comes with three tasting glasses of wine (you’ll be asked what type of wine you’d like). My three wines (to pair with the food) comprised a glass fo Chateau le Crock St Estephe 2013, one of Malbec Bousquet 2018 from Mendoza and Chateau Ricaud Cadillac 2015 from Bordeaux. You can also buy wine by the glass, starting at £7 or by the bottle with house wine from £18.
Want to eat? There’s a short but perfectly formed menu for no-frills dining. Sharing platters of meat and cheese provide a good way to graze or alternatively a starter. We tried a mixed meat and cheese platter for two, priced at £16 and were impressed by the quality of ingredients and by the generous portion size. The basket of bread on the side was fresh and delicious and there were pickles, olives and a vinaigrette dressing to accompany the meats and cheeses.
The ‘main dishes’ comprise a steak with parmesan chips, a beef burger and a vegan burger. In the interest of democracy, we tried the house special, the butler’s steak and the vegan burger (though neither of us follows a purely plant-based diet).
The steak was utterly delicious and perfectly cooked with a good char and a pink, medium-rare centre. There was a small side salad though we also ordered an extra salad to accompany the vegan burger
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever tried a vegan burger before and while I liked the taste, I found the patty lacked texture. But, my companion told me that was simply the difference between a vegan burger and one with meat. This one came with a slice of fresh barbecued pineapple and some vegan cheese, together with a salad garnish, in a toasted bun. Parmesan fries were excellent grazing food and I’d happily pop in for a glass of wine and a plateful.
I hadn’t actually realised there was a dessert as there’s nothing on the main menu, but learnt that there is always a house dessert. I scoffed a large and rather delicious homemade chocolate mousse with a small glass of Sauternes.
The Haymarket Wine House is a relatively small space, with a front bar area and a cosy space with tables at the back of the restaurant. Right now, it’s relatively quiet and for me, a great place to meet up with friends. I’ll be back and I’ll be watching to see how this lovely space, open for just five weeks, evolves. Right now, it feels like my own private secret space and while I’d personally love it to stay that way – I’m 100% certain it will become really popular really quickly.
Haymarket Wine House
020 3747 6644
Monday to Saturday
12pm – 1am
Looking for more food options? We strongly recommend Sabor in Mayfair, an excellent Spanish restaurant with an asador upstairs. Or, closer to hand, the Wellington Club in St James’s offers fine dining to members and non-members in their quirky Damien Hirst lined restaurant.