The Five Fields
8-9 Blacklands Terrace, SW3 2SP
WLC Rank : 54
Glass from : £ 7.00 (175 ml)
BEST FORRhône Valley wines
An eclectic half bottle selection
An uplifting private dining room
Produce from the venue’s own farm
The haven-like, Chelsea restaurant replete with its own Sussex farm is run by chef and wine collector, Taylor Bonnyman.
The appealing, fine dining, Chelsea staple is named after the “five fields” which bisected this once pastoral setting, mapped by eighteenth-century cartographer, John Rocque.
“I can’t stress how important teamwork is in our small, neighbourhood, family-owned restaurant,” says Polish-born head sommelier, Agnieszka Swiecka, who formerly ascended from commis to head sommelier at Pollen Street Social. A holder of the WSET Diploma and Advanced Sommelier Certificate (Court of Master Sommeliers), Swiecka is now preparing for the Master Sommelier exam.
Running to 500 references, Swiecka describes her list, implemented with “knowledgeable assistant, Andrea Boscolo Cremondin,” as “a world journey from France and Italy via Austria, Germany, Greece and England to South Africa, China, Brazil and the USA…”
Swiecka is a fanatic of Nebbiolo, Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir, “grapes which make far-from-boring, extremely food-friendly wines expressing vintage and terroir.” Hence, by-the-glass, expect old vine Spätburgunder from Bernhard Huber, Baden pitched against Gevrey-Chambertin Le Clos (Domaine Duroché).
As well as on-site storage, including cabinets in the naturally-lit private dining room, Swiecka has reserves outside London, including cases bought en-primeur, “with Burgundies from Cathiard, Bernard Moreau, Roumier and Arnaud Ente, Italian legends, Sassicaia and Montevertine Le Pergole Torte, and, from the New World, Diamond Creek Cabernets. This means, when their drinking window opens, I can offer wines some bottle age and iconic producers, such as Coche-Dury 2013 Meursault, closer to cost price.”
As a “vital part” of her wine education, and to ensure all her guests’ taste profiles are “covered”, Swiecka ordinarily travels to as many wine regions as time allows. “It’s important to have wines to suit every palate, whether you like Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Swiss Fendant with ten years of bottle age, or Grand Cru Burgundy – you’ll find it on my list.”
Swiecka mentions that menus star produce from the restaurant’s own gardens in Frant, East Sussex, including woodruff, meadowsweet and beetroots, the latter being celebrated in her favourite dish. “An explosion of textures, roast red and yellow beetroots, lemon verbena, nori and foie gras is served over three plates including elderflower gel and tangy goat’s cheese ice cream, rich foie gras in crispy nori with cherries, and palate-cleansing, frozen beetroot ball with lemon verbena oil and beetroot tartare.” Here, Swiecka partners Weinland Family Reunion Rosé from Austria’s Gut Oggau, uniting Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and Roesler, “which helps show the earthy notes of beetroot followed by sweet cherries and raspberry to amplify flavours then cleanse with its acidity.”
It is Swiecka’s goal to raise the profile of sweet pours, including venerable, fortified renditions of Madeira, “which offers the perfect finish to a meal and should be promoted more. They are our heritage.”
Swiecka also offers sake by-the-glass, “which doesn’t get into fights with food.” And, when not savouring wine or sake, Swiecka is keen on a trio of green drinks, being “mate, matcha and green Chartreuse.”
By Douglas Blyde.