Wednesday, August 11, 2010

28-50 , London

28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen is the newest venture from Xavier Rousset and Agnar Sverrisson, the restaurateurs behind the award-winning Michelin-starred restaurant Texture. It opened last month a stones throw from El Vino, it aims to deliver an exceptional variety of wines at fair prices alongside simple French inspired food.

Sverrisson and Rousset met while working as head chef and head sommelier respectively at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons . They have also hired the charming and very professional Ed Newman who I remembered from High Road House and Shoreditch House.

Named after the latitudes in which most wine regions are located, 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen has on the surface some similarities to Terroirs however one you study the wine lists and menu the differences are immediately apparent.

Rousset is an award winning master sommelier and this shows in both the collectors list” including wines such as 1978 Château Léoville Las Cases , 1984 Ridge Montebello or 1995 Ornellaia alongside an extensive list of 30 wines at very reasonable prices – all of which are available by the bottle, carafe or glass. The list will be continually evolving with the aim of allowing guests to experiment in their wine choices, and a winemaker is featured every month.

The Head Chef Paul Walsh was last at Gordon Ramsey Hospital Road and this shows through in terms of presentation and sophistication.The food at Terroirs is on the whole more rustic and the portions more generous.

My only gripe about 28-50 is in fact the size of the portions , on the first of my three visits I wondered for a brief moment if I was in Lilliput being served food one-twelfth the size of an acceptable portion. Unfortunately this is more and more common in London where crude empiricists develop price points for dishes and then build the food and margin into them, either by size or (often inferior) quality of ingredients. At 28-50 the 10 dishes I ate in three visits were all either good or very good and very well executed.

On my most recent visit my companion and I started with plate of Charcuterie to share can only really satisfy two fictional inhabitants of Lilliput and Blefuscu. At £11.50 this was not good value despite being served with excellent toasted brown bread.

I followed this with a starter Confit salmon with cucumber, basil and
tomato vinaigrette that was perfectly sized for a starter and very good value at £6.50 .

My main course of Icelandic salt cod with chorizo and couscous at £14.95 was again a very good dish but with not really enough on the plate.

I finished with probably he smallest sized desert I have ever been served, a truly delightful Almond cake with peach sorbet and fresh raspberries (1 to be exact) at £6.00. The Almond cake must have been baked in a thimble to achieve those absurd proportions.

We drank a glass of 2009 St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Mabileau served at the optimum tempreture and, a rather good 2001 Rioja Reserva, Vina Arana, La Rioja Alta.

Despite my comments about portion control 28-50 is a welcome addition to the wine bar/bistro scene in London with great value wines at all levels , quality food and excellent service.

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