What a joy. A list with the input of two Masters of Wine – Richard Harvey and Anthony Barne – was always going to get off to a flyer at the new Bonhams restaurant.
Checking out the upcoming Bonhams auction lots
Elegant dishes by chef Tom Kemble
Small parcel wines bought in from sales
Located at the auction house, but with its own entrance off Haunch of Venison Yard, Bonhams’ minimalist styling is broken by flashes of bright art. The wine list, assembled by Master of Wine, Richard Harvey, who heads Bonhams International Wine Department and former sommelier of Bibendum and trained tea taster, Charlotte Logan-Jones offers consistently significantly positively exemplary value. The cash to pleasure ratio is simply so rewarding, with some wines actually cheaper than retail, yet served impeccably within this calibrated, Michelin starred, super-chic restaurant.
‘We pride ourselves on our list, and are very selective in terms of what makes it on,’ says Logan-Jones, whose love for wine began on a family holiday to Bordeaux. ‘We are fortunate to have access to our own wine auctions here at Bonhams,’ she adds. ‘We hand-select incredibly special lots and are able to offer a selection of fine and rare wines at competitive prices.’ Examples may include: 1999 Meursault Les Vireuils, Domaine Roulot (£235), 2009 Échezeaux Grand Cru ‘Les Treux’ Vieilles Vignes, Jean Tardy & Fils (£185), 1990 Musigny V.V, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé (£750), 1970 Château Montrose (£275), 1982 Cheval Blanc (£1,200), 1992 Hill of Grace Shiraz, Henschke (£550), 1994 Tinto Valbuena 5°, Bodegas y Vinedos Vega Sicilia (£145) and 1996 Barbaresco, Gaja (£195). Should big guns not be your prerogative, there are plentiful pleasures to be found circa £35 per bottle.
‘With so much competition in London restaurants, it is crucial our list offers something unique to our clientele. Criteria we use when tasting with suppliers include that producers are well-known for the high quality of their wines (i.e. Sylvain Cathiard, Domaine Tempier, Gaja, Jean Grivot, Domaine Roulot to name a few), whether we can offer them at the appropriate price point to offer value to the guest, and unusual wines, with interesting stories.’ Logan-Jones mentions three examples. ‘2011 Nuits-Saint- Georges Clos de la Marechale Blanc, J.-F. Mugnier is more famous for reds, but this monopole has a minute production of white Chardonnay. 2013 Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs, Martin’s Lane Vineyard, Essex, meanwhile, is a still white made from Pinot Noir with a richness and depth of flavour not normally associated with still English wines. And 2014 Anne-Claude Leflaive is a big name in Burgundy, but ‘Cuvée Violette’, Domaine Clau de Nell is a Cabernet Franc/Sauvignon blend from her biodynamic Loire vineyard.’
Wines must also pair with chef, Tom Kemble’s delicate, attractive, flavoursome dishes, which may include aged Aquarello rice risotto with red mullet and parsley, slow cooked turbot with calçots, hen of the wood mushrooms and whey hollandaise, and rhubarb millefeuille with new season olive oil crème diplomat. ‘We look for wines with elegance, purity of flavour, balance and length,’ explains Logan-Jones.
Look out for intimate wine dinners, which previously included Domaine de Chevalier, Dr. Loosen, Château Branaire-Ducru and Screaming Eagle.
Incidentally, Logan-Jones offers £25 per bottle corkage Monday-Friday lunchtimes, although given the dazzling selection already available, it arguably pays not to BYO.
By Douglas B
Opening in early 2015 with young chef Tom Kemble at the helm, the restaurant gained a Michelin star that September.
The restaurant boasts a wide range of wines by the glass and is open for lunch from Monday to Friday and dinner from Wednesday to Friday. Sensitive selections start with Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV from Hampshire at a more-than-reasonable £9. A focused selection of Bordeaux, many with some decent bottle age, will no doubt keep Bonhams’ customers happy. The best-value wine list in Mayfair by some distance.
Earlier this year the restaurant offered free corkage to those dining in the evening for the whole of May – a service we hope wil be repeated. The restaurant even offered for customers to send a bottle in advance to give it time to settle and, if necessary, be decanted by sommelier Charlotte Logan-Jones.