Quality Chop House
‘Quality Chop House has a really interesting divide in tastes ranging from fairly classic (Bordeaux, Burgundy) to the completely left-field (fizzy Gamay and friends),’ says wine list author, James Fryer.
Grade II interior
One off bottles from old cellars
‘At Quality Chop House we’re still really defining our line-up,’ says James Fryer, who also authors the list for sister restaurants, Portland and Clipstone of Fitzrovia. ‘Of all three restaurants, it has a really interesting divide in tastes ranging from fairly classic (Bordeaux, Burgundy) to the completely left-field (fizzy Gamay and friends). It’s really interesting to see how these contrasting styles can occupy the same short format wine list and how we approach them in service...’
Begin with Fino or Amontillado from small sherry house, El Maestro Sierra, or sparkling Parellada, Muscat and Gewürztraminer, Vatua! by Colet (Penedès)sparkling Parellada, Muscat and Gewürztraminer, Vatua! by Colet, then choose from the section, ‘Today’s Favourites’, being ‘wines that suit the menu, the mood & the weather’, such as Heymann-Löwenstein’s Kirchberg Grosse Lage Mosel Riesling, described as ‘Diesel & grapefruit pith with serious mineral drive’, or, from ‘Leftfield’, a pink Calabrian (Acino, ‘Asor’). Alternatively, make very merry with ‘The Single Bottle List’ featuring ‘bin-ends, curiosities and mix-creants’ which could include, punching well above its Petit categorisation, Dauvissat Petit Chablis, aged Condrieu from 1999 (Rene Rostaing, La Bonnette) and lush 1998 Dalla Valle Napa Cabernet.
Dishes, best enjoyed in a booth in the grade II listed dining room with checkerboard floor, may include fried oysters with oyster mayonnaise, Middle White brawn and pickles, Blackface lamb with anchovy, and, decadent enemy of Weight Watchers, confit potatoes, as well as signature chops and steaks of course. The on-site butchery also offers excellent masterclasses with meaty goodie bags, incidentally.
Fryer took his Damascus sip at Melbourne’s Florentino under the guidance of head sommelier, Mark Protheroe. ‘From there, I tried to immerse myself in the local wine scene and even managed to produce a couple of bottles - nothing of great note, I was always just happy to have not made vinegar!’ he says. He also worked at Hammersmith’s River Café ‘with the wonderful Katie Exton (now of Lorne).’
To delight Fryer and earn a place on the list, a wine must first excite him. ‘I understand that’s a very non-specific and un-definable thing to say, but there’s always that light-bulb moment.’ Secondly, a wine must sell. ‘There’s a lot of value to recognising your crowd. After all, it’s them who foots the bill after all!’
Early 2018 sees an expansion of the footprint including a café, incidentally.
By Douglas Blyde.
Indeed, the value-quality ratio here is notably high, offering some seriously good drinking at very fair prices – which is what you might expect from a venue co-run by Will Lander, son of wine writer Jancis Robinson and restaurant critic Nick Lander. Numbering around 70 wines, the list is, in the restaurant’s words “a broad church”, without specific focus but ably reflecting some of “the world’s most interesting wine regions and styles” right now.
At the time of writing, a £21 per bottle of Château Thenac from Périgord may be the best red in town at that price point, helping tame chef Shaun Searley’s generous, protein- led dishes, which may include Hereford mince and dripping toast, as well as confit potatoes.
The list is simply laid out, easily navigated and unintimidating – despite comprising a collection of fairly serious producers – frequently refreshed and delivered in one of the most atmospheric and friendly places to dine in London: a potent combination.