5 Princes Street, W1B 2LF
WLC Rank : 122
Glass from : £ 4.00 (125 ml)
Seasonal British ingredients
Clean cut decor
Unrecognisable from its past as a Thai Square site, Stem is Mark Jarvis’ Mayfair gem lit by gold striplights, with a popular chef’s table for six guests and an engaging, reasonable list.
A balanced, accessible and, for Mayfair, notably reasonably priced list at Stem which is also nicely spaced, set in an attractive font called “PX Grotesque”.
Expect wines such as Grosset Pinot Noir, mature Luciano Sandrone Barolo, the particularly popular Thracian Pinot Noir (Miroglio SOLI) and Czech Blaufrakisch (Tomas Cacik) to rub shoulders with a 20-year-old Alsatian Riesling (Rolly Gassman), rendition of Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges, and the second vintage of La Folle Berthe, a Chenin Blanc made by Parisian journalist turned biodynamic Saumur winemaker, David Foubert.
Begin with South African vermouth, Caperitif and tonic. Then succumb to dishes by head chef, Tom Millar, which may include succulent aged beef tartare with king oyster mushroom and pickled cucumber matched with an aromatic, indie orange Slovakian (Slobodne Vinárstvo) which wears an avant-garde label showing a cockerel’s head bolted on a suited man, lifting the dish’s garlic mayonnaise.
However, pairings are not always vinous, hence the bergamot-infused Siren Yu Lu Berkshire Pale Ale with gnocchi with Romanesco and lovage. Finish with a sparkling Loire Chenin Blanc with rhubarb, jelly cheesecake and ginger.
By Douglas Blyde.