64 Eastcastle Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 8NQ
WLC Rank : 85
Glass from : £ 9 (175 ml)
BEST FORConsidered wines from the Mediterranean
Thoughtful cocktails named after Mediterranean landmarks
Featuring an open kitchen with views of the eight-metre flame grill and an immersive chef’s paella counter, ArrosQD celebrates rice and wine.
Ennobling rice, Arros QD is the first international restaurant of three Michelin-starred Valencian pioneer of avant-garde cuisine, Quique Dacosta. The self-taught Dacosta penned a treatise about rice, “Arroces Contemporáneos” 15-years-ago, and the must-order-from section of Arros QD’s menu is devoted to sharing rice dishes cooked over a variety of timbers. Realised by head chef, Richard De La Cruz, expect a Paella Valenciana made with rabbit chop, chicken and butter beans, and a dramatic-looking, black ink rice with Basque cod, sugar snaps and pil pil emulsion. Non-rice dishes, meanwhile, may include stone bass ceviche with dried corn and kafir lime, and smoked mussels “bravos” with crispy seaweed.
“Essentially we’re a fusion restaurant,” says head sommelier, Sergi Beneito, who has created a rich list paying tribute to the regions, “bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Middle East.”
Beneito notes a lot of guests favour white wines with the rice dishes, such as, “with oak complexity,” the jasmine-scented, boldly-labelled, 100% Merseguera from Bodega Mustiguillo. Other highlights include, by the “12.5ml Angel Spoon”, Tokaji Eszencia (Disznókő) and the serious sparkling wines of Spain. Indeed, during the lockdown, Beneito hosted a Zoom masterclass for 20 guests entitled, “Bubbles Beyond Cava” showcasing the wares of members of the “Corpinnat” designation, Gramona and Raventós I Blanc, “to give an idea why they decided to come out of the Cava.” Needless to say, “there were lots of questions.” Elsewhere, expect bottles such as Nicolas Jay’s Oregon Pinot Noir from the section, “New World, other winds, other seas”. Beneito is also developing the list to embrace the grapes of the Mediterranean when sown elsewhere.
Meanwhile, cocktails take the names of Mediterranean landmarks, such as “Las Ramblas”, featuring Gin Mare, thyme syrup and extra virgin olive oil.
Sergi, whose family harks from close to Dacosta’s mothership restaurant in Denia, began as a commis sommelier at Maze (RIP) followed by head sommelier roles at The Crab at Chieveley (replete with hot tub gardens), Lime Wood, Angler at South Place Hotel and José Pizarro.
When not at the restaurant, Beneito cycles some 50 miles a day with his nautically-inclined friend from Enfield.
Of the current climate, Beneito notes, “we need to get creative – wine is one of the most profitable sides of a restaurant so we need to make our place a wine destination and slowly put prices down a few per cent so guests take a bottle instead of two glasses.”
By Douglas Blyde.