High Timber

8 High Timber Street, EC4V 3PA

WLC Rank : 56

Food Type Cuisine: International

Glass PriceGlass from : £ 6.25 (125 ml)

+44 (0)20 7248 1777

www.hightimber.com

info@hightimber.com

BEST FOR

Excellent Mine Host, Neleen Straus
Capacious cellars you can dine in
Riverside location overlooking Tate Modern
Producer dinners

In collaboration with Stellenbosch winery, Jordan, High Timber celebrates the best of South Africa, with “some unicorns, some just delicious and some made especially for us.”

REVIEWS

Review 2020

In response to a news item reporting that South African wine exports fell by 23% last year, vigorous, outspoken and humorous restaurateur, Neleen Strauss retorted, “ok, I’m on my way to work. Will work harder!”

Strauss is the mien host of the art-rich Thames-side High Timber restaurant, in collaboration with Gary and Cathy Jordan of the eponymous Stellenbosch estate, hence Jordan Chameleon white is the house pour. However, the selection is not limited to the full liquid history of Jordan alone, being a hearty embrace of the best of South Africa today. Bottles are showcased alongside souvenirs collected from vineyards such as rocks and the odd porcupine quill. These include lots from the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction and an immodest quantity of Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015. Of the latter, Strauss says, “not the most expensive, but the first South African to get 100 points.” There are also some bottles from other territories, including renditions from Strauss’ favourite Champagne producer, Billecart-Salmon Champagne, a Grand Cru Alsace Riesling from Julien Schaal who also has impressive holdings in South Africa, and in magnum, Leflaive Chassagne-Montrachet. The list is updated list often, with at least one new producer showcased via a chalkboard each month.

Strauss regularly returns to South Africa, recently enjoying a memorable tasting at fellow Stellenbosch producer, Oldenburg. “I had to drive the ATV and almost went down one of the massive mountains!” she recalls.

Book in for regular producer dinners, such as the particularly raucous one hosted by Chenin Blanc fanatic, Ken Forrester. “What happens in the private room… History has taught me it’s safer for all involved not to write about Ken” admits Strauss, adding: “the most memorable event from last year was a slightly mad customer who started burning corks and gave each guest two black cork marks on their cheeks. Mobile phones got banned at speed!”

Adhering to the philosophy of, “honest cooking, great flavours and the Chef’s distinctive South African touch,” dishes may include the signature homemade biltong croquettes with peppadew ketchup, or grilled octopus with broad beans and chakalaka sausage, followed by steak with truffle mustard or venison, then comforting Malva apricot pudding.

Of the London wine business, Strauss loves “the easy access to the trade people and the relationships that strengthen each year.” Less enjoyable, however, are, “the ‘influencers’ and ‘life designers’ and ‘new buzzwords flying around like Namib dust, promising everything to make you the most looked at restaurant in the world…”

In time, High Timber will showcase wines reaped from Jordan’s East Sussex vineyard project, “

In addition to wine, Strauss is a big fan of aperos. “I’ve decided Negronis made with South African Bloedlemoen gin pairs very well with watching elephants in the bush at a watering hole. The bitterness of the drink matches the sweetness of the moment.”

By Douglas Blyde.

Review 2019

“My guests are all perfect and I wouldn’t change them for the world. Unless they pronounce Riesling as Riseling…” says Neleen Strauss, the witty and provocative mine host of High Timber, overlooking the Tate Modern and the infamous glass flats. She recalls a clever question posed by a guest: “When Jesus turned water into wine what type of grape would it have been?”

Strauss operates the art-rich High Timber in collaboration with Gary and Cathy Jordan of the eponymous Stellenbosch estate. It is therefore of little surprise that  South Africa is the focus, vinously. Packed with examples of prized terroir and the odd porcupine quill, the cellars, which you can arrange to dine in, feature winning lots from the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction as well as backup Aperol to help moderate Strauss’ wellbeing. Her most prized wine is Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015, which she has bought in immodest quantity, thus depleting the UK allocation. “Not the most expensive, but the first South African to get 100 points. But not selling them yet.” However, Strauss points out the provision of wines from “all over the world”, including renditions from her favourite Champagne, Billecart-Salmon Champagne, and, in magnum, Leflaive Chassagne-Montrachet, and Conterno Barbera d’Alba.

Strauss updates her list fortnightly, with “specials paired with London’s very special weather” such as “organic pale ale in a tumble dryer!”

Book in for regular producer symposiums, integral to the dynamic here off High Timber street, with one recent raucous one hosted by Chenin Blanc fanatic, Ken Forrester. “History has taught me it’s safer for all involved not to write about Ken” admits Strauss, adding: “the most memorable event from last year was a slightly mad customer who started burning corks and gave each guest two black cork marks on their cheeks. Mobile phones got banned at speed. Memorable!”

Starters, by chef Bart Wegrzyn, who has risen the ranks from chef de partie, may include homemade biltong croquettes with peppadew ketchup, or grilled octopus with broad beans and chakalaka sausage, followed by veal schnitzel with caper mash, sweetcorn, coriander and chili, then spongy Malva apricot pudding.

Of the London wine business, Strauss loves “the easy access to the trade people and the relationships that strengthen each year.” Less enjoyable, however, are, “the ‘influencers’ and ‘life designers’ and ‘new buzzwords flying around like Namib dust, promising everything to make you the most looked at restaurant in the world…”

By Douglas Blyde.

Review 2018

Overlooking the obelisk of the Tate Modern, the also art-filled High Timber is adeptly authored by interactive restaurateur, both in person and online, Neleen Straus in collaboration with Stellenbosch estate, Jordan. Of this friendship, Strauss notes, ‘I must have been very good in a previous life to deserve them! To have their Chardonnay as ‘house’ is a simple pleasure.’

High Timber celebrates South Africa wines to the extent it probably has a more comprehensive and patriotic cellar than the embassy, with ‘some unicorns, some just delicious and some made specially for us.’ Indeed, given Strauss’ connections, sourcing ‘rare and aged vino is easy’.

However, Strauss points out the provision of wines from ‘all over the world’, such as Alsace Riesling (Julan Schaal), Domaine Leflaive Chassagne-Montrachet in magnum, Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Rosé 2000 and first growth Bordeaux, otherwise, she says, ‘the City would get bored with us if we only did one country.’

Beneath the main dining room complete with good soundproofing despite the plate glass frontage are two cellars, and it is possible to dine among the bottles as a group. Replete with samples of rocky terroir and porcupine quills, the red cellar is more complex and fun, advises Strauss, ‘our menu being strong on meat.’

Starters, from chef Mircel McSween’s kitchen (whose CV includes Adam Street members club, Rules and Frederick’s) may include homemade bitong, biltong croquettes, black truffle tagliatelle with Pecorino, followed by fillet steak with chimichurri, or skate wing with Cape Malay butter, then Amarula tiramisu.

Producer symposiums are integral to the dynamic here on High Timber street. Strauss recalls one of the first with Meerlust (an estate located near Cape Town airport). ‘It started off all proper: 18 guests on the big table in the private room. For some reason we had a wine writer in. After the mains one regular, a futurist at an accounting firm, decided guests should introduce themselves and tell us what they like. This all went according to plan until a young lady said she really likes singing, and would we mind if she sings us something? Go on then. She had a stunning voice. However, her song choice was about necrophilia, and for five minutes people who did not know each other listened to a woman belting out intimate notes about having sex with the dead. She gave the Monty Python team a run for their money, and the evening turned progressively funnier! The wine writer’s subsequent headline was: Swinging the South African way…’

Strauss, who is also an outspoken fanatic of Aperol, toes a fair line when it comes to corkage, incidentally. ‘I don’t care much for it. Allow one bottle, don’t charge corkage and if it’s a killer wine just ask for a little snifter…’

By Douglas Blyde. 

Review 2016/17

High Timber is the brainchild of Gary and Kathy Jordan, of Jordan Wine Estate, and the co-founder of City of London restaurant Vivat Bacchus, Neleen Strauss and the first time a South African winery has ventured into the London restaurant scene

Three things come together to create High Timber; London’s most experienced South African restaurateur, Stellenbosch’s most awarded wine estate and one of London’s most prominent up and coming chefs Mircel McSween.

An extensive high quality wine cellar, headlined by South Africa’s leading estates, and Europe’s old masters.

The property will hold around 40,000 bottles on site.

“We will have the best South African collection in Europe, rare vintages and names not available anywhere else.” said Gary Jordan.

WLC Overall Score 92.8

Value
93
Size
92
Range
94
Originality
93
Service
92

WLC Overall Rank : 56

Food Type Cuisine: International

Glass PriceGlass from : £ 6.25 (125 ml)

+44 (0)20 7248 1777

www.hightimber.com

info@hightimber.com