What? Islington’s latest wine bar and the third Humble Grape specialising in artisan wines, cheese and charcuterie.
New? Yes, it only opened at the start of this summer, it’s the third Humble Grape, the original bar opened in 2015 in Battersea before being joined by the bar in Fleet Street in 2016.
Where? 11-13 Theberton Street, Islington, N1 0QY www.humblegrape.co.uk
On the Menu: Wine and a lot of it. There are over 400 bottles all of which are organic, biodynamic or sustainably sourced, all have their own story to tell and are available by the glass, carafe or bottle. To accompany it, Executive Head Chef Kishen Raheja has created a succinct list of small plates, charcuterie and cheese all of which is sourced from independent suppliers.
The Look: Designed by Parisian architect Jean Dumas, the bar is light and airy, with an earthy palate of light browns, coppers and creams, which is spiked with emerald greens and foliage. Outside you’ll find a handful of tables lining the pavement, before moving through to the bar area where you’ll also find the ‘wine shop’ so you can take your favourites home, at the back of the bar, you step down a level into a lighter restaurant, with high ceilings, shelves made of corks, hanging plants and aqua green banquettes.
What We Ate: We started with a couple of small dishes, three between two should be ample if you’re following it up with cheese and charcuterie after. Fennel, samphire and radish gave some bite to plump scallops, whilst spring onions, radicchio and cucumber let meaty crab hold its own. A fist sized ball of creamy burrata was decorated with pumpkin seeds and chargrilled courgette.
Not wanting to pass up on the cheese and charcuterie we then ordered a board of three cheeses and three meats, particularly good was the London Blue, a creamy, salty medium blue and the Rébellion. To this we added Italian speck, saucisson Jesus and Cecina, dried Spanish beef – there was a good chutney, but the board was only served with a couple of wholemeal biscuits, a few more of those are needed.
If you have space, then go for the dark chocolate fondant, a decadent, dense sponge that gives way to a rich chocolate and praline sauce and served with a boozy rum and raisin ice cream.
What We Drank: Each wine at Humble Grape tells its own story – so rather than go off tasting notes, you can choose from witty descriptions, how about a sparkling wine described as ‘an elegant lady who loves a cheeky double entendre and a penchant for ZZ Top?’ It certainly caught our eye, made up of a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Noble Savage Methode Cap Classique is a South African sparkling wine made in Stellenbosch, its subtler than a Champagne but feels like an instant classic. There’s also a very good Chenin Blanc also from Stellenbosch in South Africa – Blackwater The Underdog Chenin Blanc, 2015. Described by Humble Grape as ‘a wine so pure it almost feels like it should be good for you’ and we’re pretty certain it was good for us.
Go With: Obviously you’re going to want to go with someone who appreciates wine and is up for trying lesser known varieties, but apart from that Humble Grape is for everyone – I could just as easily see myself here with a group of girlfriends as I could a date or my grandparents – it’s a bar for all occasions.
Final Word: Unless you really a wine connoisseur most of us muddle our way through choosing wines, sticking to what we know and acting like we know what we’re talking about, at Humble Grape there’s no pretentiousness, no snobbery,
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Humble Grape Islington: 11-13 Theberton Street, Islington, N1 0QY