1 Blandford Street, W1U 3DA
WLC Rank : 44
Glass from : £ 5.50 (125 ml)
BEST FOREncouragingly-priced Rhône selection
Oysters, red prawns, and rabbit cooked three ways
Parisian-style pavement seating
Brought to you by Master Sommelier, Xavier Rousset, expect a perfectly-formed, Rhône-led list dispensed with charm at Marylebone’s Blandford Comptoir.
All roads lead to Rhône at Blandford Comptoir where a trio harking from Lyon oversees an accessibly-priced collection of wines from the Vallée. They are: owner, Xavier Rousset, head sommelier, Romain Chatillon, and Tanguy Martin who is the newly-appointed wine director for here, Comptoir Café & Wine and Cabotte.
While Cabotte in the City is a love letter to Burgundy, the Rhône “brings identity” to the deep blue Marylebone wine bar, with examples ranging from chirpily-priced country Syrahs to seductive Condrieu, and expanding libraries of Côte-Rôtie and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where a rendition from Beaucastel with over 40 years of age is priced close to £200.
Chatillon, who was previously sommelier at Chiswick’s La Trompette under Martin, and, in Lyon, the five-star “Cour des Loges” and the at one of France’s leading cavistes, “Antic Wine” on the city’s Rue du Bœuf explains the keen pricing. “Sharing these lovely bottles and seeing the pleasure of your customers is the point which is why we don’t put such wines on at £800.”
However, “representing the diversity of London and Londoners,” says Chatillon, there is room for vinous representatives from the rest of the world. Hence, expect a 62cl Clavelin of Vin Jaune, the Moulin à Vent which Rousset consultant on – Les 8 Ouvrées, a Swiss Fendant, Kentish Brut, Ningxia Rosé, Moravian Pinot Noir, sweet Uruguayan Tannat and white Bosco from the Cinqueterre. “Xavier is a fan of Piedmont while I’m into Tuscany,” says Chatillon, nodding to the selection of Barbera, Barbaresco, Barolo and Bolgheri.
Dishes by Madrid-born, Marco de Frutos Casas (formerly of 28-50 where he met founder, Xavier Rousset) may include what Chatillon calls, “an outstanding gazpacho”, beef tartare, homemade taglione, as well as arguably unbeatable homemade baguettes.
Available via his separate “Short Wine List”, Chatillon is particularly proud of the three-wine Discovery Flights which might include, Alto-Adige Kerner from Castelfeder, Chenin Blanc from Strydom, South Africa and Reserva Rioja Capellania by Marqués de Murrieta.
“Customers come in for a glass and try six, and I’m afraid they become addicted to what we do,” says Chatillon.
On seeing customers return post lockdown, Chatillon says, “it makes your eyes water a bit. People go to restaurants because they know they’ll be taken care of which is maybe why we’ve all these regulars coming back.”
When not at work, Chatillon enjoys cooking – “a hobby since I was five-years-old,” with Beef Wellington and sweetbreads his specialities.
By Douglas Blyde.
Based in Marylebone, it offers a Mediterranean menu with an Italian slant, alongside a continually evolving wine list numbering 250 wines and 40 Champagnes. Wines are divided by price, starting from £25- £35, and rising to £45-£70. At its backbone is a selection of carefully curated New- and Old World heavyweights and older vintages, interspersed with a number of more leftfield offers, which combine to create a list to get the tails of wine lovers wagging.
The Blandford Collection is reserved for its finest wines, with a selection of older vintages available at remarkable prices. A 1985 Vouvray Demi-Sec from the Loire, for example,
will set you back just £75, just one of this list’s many highlights. Delving into its fortified and sweet wine lists, a 1907 Blandy’s Bual for £50 a glass and a 1976 Château Suduiraut, just £21.50 for 100ml, are eye poppers.