The wooden chairs and tables spilling on to the pavement beneath a wide blue awning, the small room with its white walls, the bonhomie of the chef and patron, the buzz of a contented local crowd – all play to the popular image of a French wine bar. But you’d be hard-pressed to find as considered, interesting and wide-ranging a wine list across the Channel. The ‘10 cases’ of the name refer to the maximum quantity bought in, which keeps the line-up fresh and seasonal. The 20-plus wines on the list, available by glass, carafe and bottle, will likely be gone when you next visit – a shame, if the quality of much of what we tried is any indicator. The food has taken time to match these standards, but we’ve been more impressed of late. There are snacks such as pimientos de padrón and salt and pepper squid, but the focus is on more formal starters and mains: satisfying bistrot-inflected Modern European cooking. Braised pork belly with pea and bean ragoût, and red mullet with lentils and coriander and chilli pesto, were well made and resonant with flavour. If you’re here mainly for wine, decamp to the shop next door where you can drink in small quantities from Enomatic dispensers or pay £12 corkage to quaff your purchase, along with a few meat, cheese or salad plates.
|Venue name:||10 Cases|
16 Endell Street
|Opening hours:||Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat. Meals served noon-3pm, 6-11.30pm Mon-Thur; noon-11pm Fri, Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Covent Garden or Tottenham Court Rd tube|
|Price:||Main courses £11-£30. House wine £23 bottle, £4 glass. Dinner for two with wine: around £80.|
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