Co-founders – The 10 Cases
There’s a certain comfort in going to a favourite pub or bar or restaurant and knowing that a certain dish or drink, one that pleases you, will always be on the menu come what may. Mind you, that can also result in a venue with an unchanging and uninspiring list, one that doesn’t thrill you first time and won’t encourage you to return.
Eager to avoid the pitfalls of the latter, and also to break free from even the comfortable constraints of the former, in 2011 friends Will Palmer and Ian Campbell decided to open a venue that is unique. As Will recalls, having met at university, the pair went their separate ways, doing various work in the on-trade from France to the South Pacific when, after five years, they joined forces to create what became, The 10 Cases.
As the name suggests, The 10 Cases is a bistro where there are 10 whites, 10 reds (including sparkling, rosé and sweet wines). 10 cases of each is ordered and then sold, before it is replaced by something else. In all its years of trading, the website proudly proclaims, the same wine has never been sold twice, and all wines are offered by the glass, carafe and bottle. Similarly, there are only ever three starters, three mains and three puddings (and some small plates and daily specials) on offer, and these change on a regular basis.
Next door, in 2013, the pair opened the Cave à Vin bar and shop, which offers other wines but with the same concept. Over the road, in 2017 they opened Parsons – a fish restaurant that caters to those looking for a full blow-out, the catch of day or a glass of wine with a plate of anchovies. The 10 Cases is unpretentious, fairly priced (despite being in Covent Garden) and a place you can go back to at any time safe in the knowledge it’ll be as fresh as the first. “We love anything that is made with precision and honesty, whether this is from established or new wine regions, producers and varieties,” says Will. “You can have all the kit in the world, but it is important to remember that great wine is only great in good company.”