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What to drink at Bruno

As he prepares to open Bruno in East London’s Victoria Park Village, Michael Sager tells db about how his wine list creativity “thrives when faced with constraints”.

Sager, best known as the founder of the Sager + Wilde wine bar on Hackney Road and the Sager + Wilde restaurant close by on Paradise Row, is embarking on this new project on Lauriston Road, in Victoria Park Village.

Explaining his fondness for the area, he said: “In 2016, I relocated to Victoria Park Village due to its lush greenery and proximity to both the park and Regents Canal. Victoria Park Village embodies London’s historical amalgamation of villages, and I cherish this unique aspect.”

The space Sager will be taking over, next to The Deli Downstairs, is certainly snug – asked how its small size determined the wine list, he said: “I find my creativity thrives when faced with constraints, particularly when it comes to concise wine lists. Our list, though brief, is remarkably comprehensive, spanning regions from Lanzarote to Baja California, and even Georgia, while featuring a wide array of our beloved Burgundy, Tuscany, and Barolo producers. With nearly 200 wine options available for purchase, you can enjoy any bottle in the shop for just the retail price plus a £15 corkage fee.” He also revealed that Jura wines make an appearance.

Picking some of his personal favourite wines that customers will be able to purchase, Sager singled out the following: Puro Rofe Listan Blanco (Lanzarote, Spain), Rajat Parr Pinot Noir (Cambria, California), and Lapo Berti Barolo la Morra (Barolo, Italy).

Bruno takes its name from Sager’s father, who hasn’t yet found out that a wine bar has been named in his honour, and, according to Sager, “he won’t until his next visit to London this spring”.

Sager shared that the original Bruno’s wine preferences will also be reflected in the list at Bruno: “I was introduced to wine at a very early age thanks to my father. His preferences lean towards Italian wines, and I share the same fondness for them.”

The selection of snacks has also been partially inspired by his dad: “We’ll be serving filled soft pretzels, paying homage to my father’s Swiss roots, where I grew up savouring these delicious treats as one of my beloved childhood snacks.”

“With our ever-changing daily wine-by-the-glass offerings, we’ll be crafting fresh pairings each day, ensuring an exciting and dynamic experience for our local community,” he added.

“As I live less than 100 metres away, I’ll be dedicating the majority of my time there,” Sager explained. “The team is small, starting with just four of us. What’s particularly advantageous is that all team members have worked with me at Sager + Wilde for over three years, which is a significant benefit.”

Bruno’s opening date is yet to be confirmed, though it is expected to open shortly.

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