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The Noble Rot Magazine
A touch of The Sportsman in Bloomsbury
Chefs, Stephen Harris and Paul Weaver from the Michelin-starred The Sportsman in Whitstable offer "Franglais' plates in this homely, Parisian-style wine bar in Bloomsbury.
“There’s always so much to discover about wine that our appreciation is continually evolving,” says Noble Rot’s Dan Keeling. “Witnessing how uncompromising Gianfranco Soldera (the Maestro of Montalcino) is when he makes his Sangioveses, or how steep the Terrasenmosel vineyards of Heymann-Lowenstein are to farm, gives you renewed respect for the lengths top winemakers go to.”
Keeling, who believes most things are “better by candlelight”, and has been garlanded with wine writing awards, was previously MD of Island Records and head of Artists and Repertoire at Parlophone where he signed Coldplay, Bombay Bicycle Club and Lily Allen, while co-founder of both the Noble Rot bar/restaurant and magazine, Mark Andrew worked for a decade at Roberson Wine as head buyer, becoming a Master of Wine in 2017.
Keeling describes the Bloomsbury bar and brasserie’s guests as being as diverse as the wine list, with a thirst for “Burgundy, Loire, Jura, old Claret, Etna, new-wave Spain, Greece, Beaujolais, Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo – our guests are as diverse as our wine list.”
Keeler and Andrew try to keep as many of the producers which they write about in the magazine in stock, “depending on availability”, including: Jean-François Ganevat, Julien Labet, Stephane Tissot, as well as Lalou Bize-Leroy, Soldera and Stella di Campalto.
“Franglaise” dishes by head chef, Paul Weaver and consultant chef, Stephen Harris of Whitstable’s The Sportsman, perhaps preceded by a postmodern glass of Retsina or Gaston Chiquet Black Velvet, may include grilled Scottish langoustine with seaweed butter, roast blackface lamb with puy lentils and green sauce, and stem ginger parfait with poached rhubarb oats. “I also loved Gerwuztraminer with Munster cheese – two things I’m not overly fond on their own – with Catherine Fuller at Domaine Weinbach, Alsace,” notes Keeler, who also enjoyed plundering the selection on offer at La Dive Bouteille in Saumur. “Thousands of wine lovers in a vast network of subterranean tuffeau caves, tasting and talking with some of the world’s most exciting organic/ biodynamic/ natural vignerons…”
By Douglas Blyde.