Wine lovers will be pleased to discover the dream team behind Michelin starred Texture Portman Square and acclaimed 28-50 Marylebone have opened up an informal wine bar in the heart of Mayfair. Sommelier Xavier Rousset (ex Manoir aux Quat` Saisons) and his business partner Agnar Sverrisson can do no wrong it seems- their Maddox street venue has already earned rave reviews so I decided to drop in last week and attempt to understand the secret behind their success.
Despite its swanky post code 28-50 Maddox street has a definite relaxed vibe about it, diners are either perched at the bar sharing a bite after work, or seated at small intimate tables – an ideal romantic setting for those wanting to impress without showing off. Take the décor for example- smart, contemporary, a sort of Scandi- London affair with lots of naked lighting, glass and timber. However despite its casual appearance this place is slick, staff are highly trained, they know their food, they understand wine in depth – I really enjoyed being able to take my taste buds on a journey and learn a thing or two. In fact 28-50 refers to the latitudes at which grape vines can be grown so it came as no surprise that Head Sommelier Caroline flits around the restaurant advising visitors to order by the glass and consider matching their courses to their wine.
We started with a dozen fresh oysters and a flute of crisp Louis Roederer champagne, simple yet decadent. If you like your fizz this is a good destination,
on the ground floor is a champagne bar, with a choice of 40 to 50 varieties, including four available by the glass. However on this occasion we remained upstairs where my partner and I enjoyed a selection of small tapas style dishes followed by a main and enjoyed matching our choice of tipple to Caroline`s menu of over 30 international wines. Take my starter of seared scallops with soba noodles for example, dressed beautifully in fragrant Japanese vinaigrette. Here I sipped on a Croatian Riesling, not something I would ever imagine ordering, neither the region nor the grape and yet – I’m a convert. It wasn’t sweet, just soft and mellow, an ideal companion to my delicate starter.
Sticking with fish I plumped for grilled lemon sole as my main that, despite being utterly delicious, was so generous a portion I wasn’t able to finish. Caroline suggested one of her favourite whites with this, a 2011 Savagnin from Cotes du Jura – dry and crisp; suitably clean with the buttery Sole.
A quite wonderful on trend salted caramel tart with ice cream rounded off our evening alongside a very fine Madeira, which Caroline explained was created from wine that had sailed the sea, there it had gathered a salty-sweetness from the oak barrels and sea air.
A bitter espresso kept up alert enough to thank our generous hosts, it`s certainly a destination marked down for future visits- that wine list is a long one.
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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