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Five of the best restaurants in London for English wine

It might still command a relatively small proportion of most restaurant wine lists, but as interest in English fizz grows many of London’s restaurants are catching on to growing demand, offering a homegrown selection of England’s finest wines.

As English sparklers and wines begin to gain international recognition, consumer attitudes are changing, with people finally taking English wines seriously, a point proven by Taittinger’s recent investment in a slice of the Kent countryside.

The English wine industry grew its turnover by 16% last year, and is now worth a record high of £132 million. According to the latest data from Funding Options, is an online aggregator for SME finance based in the UK, the turnover of the English wine sector has nearly trebled over the last five years from £55.7 million in 2011 to £132 million today.

Such success is leading to a bandwagon effect – a record 64 new wine producers obtained a licence for wine production last year.

Earlier this year, The United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA) and English Wine Producers (EWP) voted to merge to form one single-industry representative body called UK Wine Producers. The new organisation will promote, represent and support all UK wine producers and vineyards, irrespective of their size in dealings with the government and other national and international organisations.

With this in mind, we have sifted through our Wine List Confidential database to bring you a selection of restaurants that pay a bit more attention to their domestic winemakers, and feature a stronger selection than others of English fizz and still wines.

Wine List Confidential is a wine list ratings website and mobile app designed to be a transparent, straightforward way to connect wine lovers with the best wine-focused restaurants.

Using a numeric rating system, Wine List Confidential allows wine lovers to quickly compare the wine offer in restaurants, whatever the food or format. Using a simple 100-point scale, Wine List Confidential scores restaurants on the most important aspects of their wine offering – from pricing and service, to the range, size and originality of the selection. These individual ratings are then used to create an overall Wine List Confidential Score for every restaurant reviewed.

The free-to-use resource will initially focus on London’s top restaurant and wine venues, but is set to expand to cover other major cities around the world.

Click through for our pick of Wine List Confidential-rated restaurants that heap an extra spoonful of love onto their English wine offer, and what our experts had to say about their wine lists….


An ormer, for those who don’t know, is a ritual mating dance of the lesser white-toothed shrew…

It isn’t really – though like the lesser white-toothed shrew, it is Jerseyan. It’s actually the name of the prehistoric-looking mollusc, and culinary delicacy, known in other parts of the English-speaking world as abalone… and Michelin-starred Shaun Rankin’s restaurant in Jersey, of course, which has just spawned a London version in the fine dining nexus of Mayfair.

Fine and good – but what about the wine list? Well quite.

Andreas Rosendal is your head sommelier here. He has previously worked as head somm at Michelin-starred Brasserie Chavot and as assistant head somm at the two-star Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham. He also looked after the largest list in the UK for a time – at Wine List Confidential favourite The Greenhouse.

He’s working with considerably fewer than 3,600 bins at Ormer Mayfair – just 150 for the moment, but with the capacity to grow to around 300. For Mayfair, this makes the list very approachable, as do the prices, which determine the order of the wines – so wines in the £20s, then the £30s (according to Rosendal, these sections are selling very well), then £40 and upwards, then the ‘Library’ wines. If you do have money to burn, the Library section offers Guigal’s 1990 La Landonne for £1,240.

Pride of place is given to English sparkling, with an extensive range of Nyetimber and Ridgeview (as well as Devaux Champagne) available by the bottle – Nyetimber’s 2009 Classic Cuvée is ageing very well, while you can also sample wine from the Sussex estate’s very first vintage – the 1992 blanc de blancs. Gusbourne and Denbies also get a look in – the latter’s soft, juicy Pinot Noir Dunkelfelder blend makes for a very pleasant pairing with Rankin’s turbot dish.

Beyond these shores, France and Italy are fairly well represented while you’ll find the odd bottle from lesser known regions such as Naoussa in Greece (Diamantakos Estate) and Vale de São Francisco (Vini Brasil) in Brazil.

The 25 or so by-the-glass offerings carry helpful descriptions for food pairing – three words that pick out very well the key flavour profiles – eg: pear drops, dashi, slate (that’s Greywacke Pinot Gris); rosemary, crunchy mulberry, black pepper (that’ll be Tardieu-Laurent Crozes-Hermitage).

Ultimately this is a selection of does-what-it-says-on-the-tin wines – if you want a northern Rhône red, you’ll get a perfectly typical northern Rhône red; if you want an Amarone, you’ll get a classically cherry, chocolate and tobacco-scented Amarone. Safe and solid, like the restaurant itself.

The geeky oenophile who really likes to dig deep into a list might be a little disappointed, but this pick-n-mix selection just about makes up for in breadth what it lacks in depth.

7-12 Half Moon Street, Mayfair , W1J 7BH

Mark Hix Oyster and Chophouse

Classic, ultra-seasonal and very well-executed British fare, such as Lyme Bay cuttlefish with Dorset wasabi, and Boccadon farm veal chop with sage butter, is on the menu at the first solo restaurant of restaurateur/author, Mark Hix, close to Smithfield meat market. The wooden floors, marble crustaceans bar and tiled walls go towards creating an elegant yet unfussy, surprisingly bright dining room, which includes cheeky art including a swearing neon light sculpture and rather rude loo door signs.

The multi box-ticking wine list has a logically helpful page entitled ‘Mark suggests’ showing wines best matched ‘with oysters’, ‘fish’, ‘shellfish’, ‘steaks and chops’, ‘game’ and ‘cheese’. Another section, ‘magnums and big boys’, is very much worth plundering if booking for a bigger, or indeed, thirstier group. Note also the patriotic range of renditions from Nyetimber, including rosé and magnums.

Of the 35 wines by the glass, Tonnix Douro Rosé is an incisive result of a collaboration between Hix and his friend, the celebrity fisherman, Mitch Tonks, with label by artist Tracey Emin.

While few bargains abound, the list is well calibrated and service slick. Incidentally, the venue has set up a deal with ‘Nicolas’ wine shop on Cowcross Street to offer HIX’s customers 5% off bottles of wine on Mondays – which is when HIX invites you to bring your own wine (free corkage). Also, you can check in from 4-6pm for £1 oyster Happy Hour. Perfect with lip stinger Picpoul de Pinet (Domaine Félines Jourdan).

36-37 Greenhill’s Rents, Cowcross Street, EC1M 6BN

OXO Tower

A whopper of a selection which will be familiar to anyone who has popped into the excellent Harvey Nichols wine shop in Knightsbridge.

Some good value is to be had with the Harvey Nichols branded wines, which include a Grüner Veltliner and a ‘Plan de Dieu’ from the Rhône. A great buying team ensures the list here is consistently tip-top and worthy of exploration.

The Coravin selection has particular appeal if you feel inclined to dabble in the fine wine offering but don’t want to haemorrhage money – this isn’t a cheap list. No fewer than 30 listings are available in 75ml or 125ml measures by the device. Castillo Ygay 2007 (£34 for 125ml) and Charbonnière Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 from magnum (£17) stand out among the reds.

There’s a hell of a lot of Chamapagne here, often mature vintage stuff, with plenty in magnum format too (there’s a big mag selection generally, in fact). Bolly, DP, Krug and Cristal all get generous coverage for free-spending bubbly lovers; Harvey Nicks’ own-label OXO Champagne is also perfectly serviceable, and priced at just £62. There’s a lot of love for English sparkling producers besides. Hambledon Premiere Cuvée would be worth a pop.

Harvey Nicks’ ‘Britalia’ campaign to big up high-end Italian products, including wine, dictates that you’ll see plenty of good gear spanning most Italian regions. Unsurprisingly Piemonte and Tuscany get the most coverage, but Sicily is not far behind, with the excellent Cerasuolo di Vittoria from COS (£63, or £130 for magnum) and Passopisciaro’s equally excellent Etna Rosso (£90) both winking seductively from this section of the list.

While a big list, there’s very little flab. Particularly impressive is the range of New World offerings, which digs deeply enough to necessitate division into sub-regions. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are all worth your attention if you’re looking for value. David Sadie Chenin Blanc from Swartland and Te Mata Gamay Noir from Hawke’s Bay are both worthy purchases in the under £50 bracket.

Along with the nearby Tate Modern Switch House restaurant, one of the sharpest lists you’ll find on the South Bank.

Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH

The Ritz

This year, Ferlito, who makes wine himself on Etna, added 150 new wines to the illustrious list. These include – sign of the times – five orange wines, two of which are available by the glass. Another Ferlito innovation has been to introduce English wines to the hotel’s wine list for the first time. Nine references include Nyetimber, Gusbourne and Camel Valley.

There’s also a strong emphasis on indigenous varieties, with lesser-known wines from regions including Jura, Corsica, Etna, Georgia, Slovakia and Santorini providing a nice counterpoint to the impressive verticals of Premier Cru Classé Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundy.

As many as 46 wines are available by the glass, including 16 wines using the Coravin system. If you’re looking for ideas, you might tapdance your way over to the Rivoli Bar for a glass of Ritz Selection Brut Champagne (£19 a glass), a delicious, low-dosage bubbly produced exclusively for The Ritz by Barons de Rothschild.

Some ferocious pricing needs to be carefully negotiated, particularly with Champagne, but then this is The Ritz. While there’s little hope of a cheap night out, there are sufficient reasons to sup at The Ritz.

150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR


A wide-ranging and, broadly speaking, unusually reasonably priced list at this most British of venues, smartly located in the Floral Hall, relocated from Covent Garden to become a haven over the bustle of Borough Market.

Expect a full and thoughtful look at England’s wines, including a Blanc de Blancs created by Chapel Down in Kent to mark the restaurant’s 10 years of trading.

Other specifically tailored wines include a Roast Malbec from Argentina by Bodega Ruca Malen – gregariously available in either magnum or double magnum format.

Chef Stuart Cauldwell is a master of big flavours, gleaned from ingredients often sourced from the market. Dishes include roast rare breed suckling pig with mashed potato and Bramley apple sauce (good with Carneros Chardonnay, Waterstone), or cider cured sea trout with asparagus and Portland crab, potentially partnered with special occasion Rheingau Riesling, Silberlack (Schloss Johannisberg).

The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, SE1 1TL

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