Core by Clare Smyth

92 Kensington Park Road, W11 2PN

WLC Rank : 11

Food Type Cuisine: Seasonal British

Glass PriceGlass from : £ 11 (125 ml)

+44 (0)20 3937 5086


Vintage Champagnes and rested Rhône
Impeccable dishes
Clare Smyth’s personal musical playlist
A bar which is a destination in itself

A confident, complete and inquisitive list created by the masterful Gareth Ferreira to complement the pristine flavours of head chef, Clare Smyth.


Review 2020

Head Sommelier, Gareth Ferreira performed expert carpentry to his inner sanctum-like cellar within which select guests may enjoy a snifter of Justino’s 1999 Madeira from the barrel with seven-year-old Davidstow Cornish Cheddar while choosing dinner wines. Amid some 3,000 bottles are two notable empties: Taylor’s Quinta do Vargellas 1984, contents of which filled the wine gums Smyth prepared for Harry and Meghan’s wedding reception, and the Latour 1996, “which we drank when we won two Michelin stars,” says Ferreira.

The holder of Wines of South Africa’s Sommelier Cup, Gareth Ferreira discovered a fascination for wine at the boutique Saxon Hotel in native South Africa, furthered at Dubai’s “seven-star” Burj Al Arab, then in London at 67 Pall Mall, which he helped open under Scarborough-born Master Sommelier, Ronan Sayburn.

Although also available via QR code or sanitised iPad, Ferreira’s list is bound in green and copper to represent nature and cooking pans, with bookmarks helping diners keep pages open, “which is better than using a knife,” notes Ferreira. Its contents have improved almost beyond recognition since the venue opened in summer 2017. It is now illustrated with maps which Ferreira designed using the programme, Ortelius. As well as very fine wines, mandatory for a two Michelin-starred restaurant, he continues to seek brilliant, accessibly-priced bottles, such as the “unbelievably good value” parcels of Coteaux Bourguignons Mes Gamays from a 0.32 acre site tended by Nicolas Faure, “who spent time at DRC and Jean-Louis Chave” and La Re-Nommée (Maison Lombard), “from the no man’s land of la Drôme in the Northern Rhône, which I’m incredibly fond of. Like drinking a Côte-Rôtie.”

Notable also is the collection of mature Bordeaux, particularly so gleaned from 1970. “A restaurant vintage, prices still good, and I’m never disappointed,” he says, singling out Figeac, “who are building one of Bordeaux’s finest cellars,” and Vieux Château Certan. Of the latter, he recalls, “One of my most memorable bottles was the 1970 tried at the château on a trip which also included Le Pin.”

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve is the house Champagne, supplemented with older cuvées such as the long discontinued Champagne Charlie from 1985. “And there needs to be an English, like Gusbourne.”

Interestingly, Ferreira has listed half bottles on the same page as wines-by-the-glass, “treating it like an extension of the by the glass – which works amazingly well.”

Ferreira hints the Australian section will naturally expand when Clare Smyth opens her new restaurant above Sydney’s waterfront. Of wines such as Bin 389 1988 from Penfolds, he says, “I’m not sure people know how well these wines can age.”.

Ferreira underlines how the Northern Irish chef, Chef Clare Smyth MBE, who collects wine herself, understands the value of wine to her restaurant and how to engender loyalty in her team. “She’s not just an incredible chef, she’s a good businesswoman.” Smyth described a restaurant as a triangle of food, service and wine. “One can’t work without the other.” In accord with Smyth, Ferreira opened an account with bonded warehouse, Octavian to “secure the future of the list,” purchasing Domaines such as Roulot, Leflaive and Clos Rougeard.

Given Ferreira’s drive to constantly overhaul the 750-bin list, the five-strong wine team are notified of new arrivals via a WhatsApp group. “I change the list all the time, rarely buying the same thing again, especially with reds when trying to find maturity.”

During the lockdown, Core’s team held Zoom training sessions with suppliers including farmers, “the idea being to get to know these inspiring people personally and tell their story to guests.” Ferriera held weekly wine trainings, “and even had some of our regular guests join.” The restaurant also kept busy cooking for the local community and the NHS.

When not at Core, Ferreira studies with the intention to continue entering the UK Sommelier of the Year competition, for which he has twice been runner up, and to succeed in his Master Sommelier theory paper. When time permits, he also loves golf.

Instagram: @corebyclaresmyth

By Douglas Blyde.

WLC Overall Score 97.1


WLC Overall Rank : 11

Food Type Cuisine: Seasonal British

Glass PriceGlass from : £ 11 (125 ml)

+44 (0)20 3937 5086