If you’re the sort of drinker who chooses wine by scanning the list and picking the one that’s next-up-from-house, this wine bar – from the team behind the bookings-only Experimental Cocktail Club – is not for you. The wine team is led by Julia Oudill, a young sommelier with an enormous talent but not a jot of ego. She’ll pull up a stool and talk you through your options, whether you’re after something oh-la-la for a special occasion, a thoughtful match for your food, or simply something to lift the soul after a day of ‘métro, boulot, dodo’ (the rat race).
With Nina Simone crooning in the background and the interiors of a glamorous Parisian boudoir, it’s a chic, civilised spot to graze and sample an exceptional drop or two. From more than score of wines by the glass, we savoured a mellow, balanced champagne from the family estate of Aurélien Suenen, ahead of the fruity, pineapple-y notes of a Lugana from Olivini. Our small-plates dishes were equally inspired: from a finger-lickin’ bowl of buttermilk-fried frogs’ legs to a fat burrata cheese studded with toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate arils drizzled with pomegranate vinegar. An all-Gallic staff – who, if they weren’t peddling fermented grapes, would look just as at home on the pages of French Vogue – were slick, and brimming with charm. The only slight downside, perhaps, was the hefty price tag at the end; but then mingling with the elite never came cheap.