Michael Hill Smith MW, co-founder of Shaw + Smith in Australia’s Adelaide Hills, on eating at Will Lander’s Portland, why 67 Pall Mall is “vinous heaven” and how London has changed since his first trip in 1974.
1. Which is your favourite restaurant in London?
Will Lander’s Portland on Great Portland Street. Simple, exciting modern cooking focusing on the provenance of the very best ingredients. I particularly love their game birds when in season.
2. Where is your favourite wine offering in London?
67 Pall Mall – a private wine club that is my idea of vinous heaven. A spectacular selection of bottles and a football team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable sommeliers to help.
More accessible are the Vinoteca Wine Bars – they are fun, informal with a challenging but thoughtful range of wines and the food is good.
3. How does London compare to other big global cities in terms of the wine lists you find there?
I first visited London in 1974 – it was expensive then and is expensive now. It has been ever thus! The big change is that the food is largely exceptional these days. London has long been a melting pot for the world’s best wines in all their breadth and depth.
There are some really well curated wine lists to be discovered in London – not just weighty tomes of collectables but intelligent lists with the confidence to specialise in specific regions, countries or winemaking trends.
*67 Pall was rated first, Vinoteca City 44th and Portland 87th in Wine List Confidential’s top 100 restaurants in London for wine in 2018.
To view the Wine List Confidential website, please click here.
Wine List Confidential, brought to you by the drinks business, is the first platform to rank London’s restaurants on the strength of their wine list alone, providing a comprehensive guide to the best restaurants in the capital for wine lovers.
Restaurants are graded on a 100-point scale based on five criteria: size, value, service, range and originality.
* Please note that scores for the next edition of Wine List Confidential will be published in May 2019.