London restaurant ditches wine list

London restaurant Almeida in Islington has ditched its wine list in time for its re-launch on Monday.

In place of a wine list, staff at the restaurant, owned by the D&D London group, will provide customers with personal recommendations. Suggestions will be tweaked depending on a customer’s personal taste, food order and budget.

“Some may see us binning the wine list as a bit radical but I hope it will change the way our guests think about what they drink,” said restaurant manager Rob Kihlstrom.

“We’re doing this to get our passion for wine across to our customers – the experience will be more fun and interactive than the usual approach of working your way through a long list,” he added.

On any given night a number of bottles of the staff’s favorite wines will be open, giving guests the chance to try them before they commit to it.

Those keen to make up their own mind about their wine choice can pick bottles directly off a “wine wall”; one of Almeida’s new features.

While lacking a conventional wine list, the Almeida will offer 60 wines by the bottle, with a focus on the Old World countries of France, Spain and Italy.

Among the wines on offer will be Cave de Hunawihr, Klevner Reserve Pinot Blanc from Alsace, Viña Godeval Godello from Valdeorras and John Duval Plexus Shiraz from the Barossa Valley.

Informal monthly wine tastings hosted by wine educator Hugo Read will also take place at the restaurant exploring everything from classic wine regions and lesser-known grape varieties.

On the food front, head chef Tommy Boland will be serving seasonally-inspired, contemporary British dishes like octopus ballotine with sea vegetables, lemon dressing, and crispy squid; roasted grouse with celeriac puree, smoked bacon, and barley; and Millefeuille of banana, salted caramel, peanuts and honey jelly.

This isn’t the first time a restaurant has taken a risk with its wine list. At the recently opened Mulino a Vino in New York’s Meatpacking District, customers are asked to choose their wine before ordering dishes like veal tonnato and spaghetti amatriciana.

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