28°-50° Marylebone – a new destination for wine lovers


maryleboneFood and wine are intrinsically linked and the right combination can bring out the best in the other; Rioja and lamb, red Burgundy and game, Sauvignon Blanc and asparagus. Being slightly obsessive about wine (and being a reasonably good cook) I am always on the look-out for a good restaurant.

It can be argued that London’s restaurant scene today is more exciting than ever, from the glamorous Michelin star to the more modest gastropub, representing a wide variety of ethnic styles. It offers an overwhelming amount of choice and it can be tricky not to get lost in the maze. Good food, enthusiastic staff and an interesting wine list are obvious must-haves, but also featuring high on my list is the option to bring your own bottle.  In my cellar are wines that are waiting to be opened at the right moment with the right people and are unlikely to feature on most wine lists. The option of taking these to a restaurant dramatically changes the experience.

One of my favourite restaurants at the moment is 28°-50° Fetter Lane, named after the latitudes within which most of the world’s vineyards are located. A gathering place for wine lovers, the cheerful staff are as enthusiastic as their clients about wine. The ambience is superb, with small wooden tables and a balcony for large groups. The food is reliable with a clear French influence and created to accentuate the wine. The wine list consists of two parts; a better-than-usual list typical of most good restaurants and the collector’s list. The latter is an ever-changing eclectic selection of both classic icons and quirky lesser known producers that the restaurant buys from the private collections of its clients. Prices for both the food and wines are reasonable and I can bring my own bottle. The bottle that I have savoured for so long in the cellar will be loving treated by the staff, checked for condition, decanted if need be and served in proper glassware. It is no wonder that this hidden gem has become the home-from-home for many wine enthusiasts.

One can imagine my excitement when last Thursday I received an invite from a friend to visit the opening evening of 28°-50°’s new enterprise: 28°-50° Marylebone. I can see all sorts of confusion arise with the new place sharing the same name as Fetter Lane…..but otherwise, a fabulous addition to the West End. Thursday evening started well as I was poured a glass of 2000 Dujac Charmes Chambertin blind and guessed it right. Its exuberant rich velvety texture and notes of exotic spice that appear a few hours after opening is uniquely distinctive. After this enjoyable start we took a taxi to 28°-50° Marylebone. Attractively situated on the apex of two converging streets, the floor to ceiling glass walls on two sides give a huge amount of light to the bar area. Downstairs, next to the open kitchen, is an intimate restaurant area that seats around 14 people at tables for 2-4. Designed with an impressive rough hewn wooden wall, the ambience is reminiscent of Fetter Lane (though more intimate), and would be a great venue for private parties. Like Fetter Lane, 28°-50° Marylebone will share the concept of the collector’s list and a similar menu as well as an additional pre-theatre menu. No doubt, this too will become a success for sommelier Xavier Rousset and executive chef Agnar Sverrisson. We enjoyed the evening with some lovely Sauvignon from the Loire valley and wonderful asparagus with truffle sauce and perfectly cooked mini arancini. Delicious.