When I visited: April 2017
Location: London, near St Paul’s (there is also a branch in Battersea)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not in Guide
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress / workwear
Ambience: Informal, fun
Course of the meal: Lamb with garlic potato mash
If I could change one thing: Smaller portions / ‘small bites’ options
Humble Grape is a great addition to the plethora of bars and restaurants in the St Paul’s area of London. It is nominally a wine bar, but also serves platters of food to share as well as more substantial starters and mains.
I visited with my partner Owl for a pre-theatre dinner and the staff immediately went out of their way to explain the wine options and to ask for feedback on everything as it was a new branch. We went for the wine flight, which, like in the brilliant Vegas venue La Cave, allows you to have a taste of several different wines over an informal dinner. In our April wine flight we had a fruity Von Winning, a mineraly Chablis, a dark and full Chianti and a gorgeous Priorat, which we ended up buying a bottle of.
The choice of starters was appropriately seafood-heavy to complement the white wines – I had yellowfin tuna and my partner Owl had octopus. Our mains were lamb with a delicious garlic potato mash and spiced duck. All the food was good but the portions were too big. Personally, I think that in a wine bar it would be better to have lots of ‘small plates’ options to share, as well as the platters, and if not the portions should be made smaller. My lamb was good but I really couldn’t finish it; there were three massive pieces as well as the potato and vegetables. We did tell the waitress this, as they’d asked for feedback, and were told that she had encouraged the chef to make the portions bigger as they were too small before. I think that Londoners might prefer more variety and small dishes.
My only other slight negative comment is that they charged us for service on the whole bill including the bottle of wine we bought from them, which is a bit cheeky, but not a deal-breaker.
I think that Humble Grape is bound to do well and will definitely go back there to sample more wine and hopefully increasingly great food.