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Wine List Confidential: Cut at 45 Park Lane

Douglas Blyde visits famed chef Wolfgang Puck’s Park Lane outpost. Will the US-leaning wine list to complement the classic British roast lunch prove a cut above the rest?

“Wolfgang Puck is probably the most famous chef in America,” wrote John Lanchester in The Guardian of Cut on opening in 2011. “He was already a megastar the first time I visited one of his restaurants, Chinois in Santa Monica, in 1993,” he added. “At that point, Puck was best known for having invented the postmodern pizza at his restaurant Spago.” More recently, Square Meal observed Cut “stands out from the steakhouse crowd” owing in part to its “glammed-up globe-trotting clientele.”



Immersed in Puck’s playlist of Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, and Kaiser Chiefs, or indeed, modulated live guitar when we visited one Sunday lunchtime, Damien Hirst’s kaleidoscopic butterflies are mirrored into infinity in the main dining room, while atmospheric monochromatic portraits of Harrison Ford and Michael Caine bring character to the lobby. It was the latter Londoner who advised his friend, Puck, to open his first European restaurant here, linking to an empire of more than 20 fine dining venues in North America and Asia. However, it could have been different, as Puck recalled in a previous interview with your correspondent. Puck’s coalminer father saw cooking “as a women’s profession”, believing the school drop-out “good for nothing.”

Dismissed after three weeks from his first apprenticeship at a hotel in Villach in native Austria, Puck found himself standing over a river contemplating the culmination of his life. “Then suddenly I thought: I’ll go back.” The hotel’s elder apprentice was pleased to see Puck, selfishly hiding him in a storeroom to toil on his behalf. Fortunately, when he was discovered, the compassionate owner sent Puck to the sister hotel. “There were women chefs there who were a little nicer,” recalls Puck, who went on to earn the highest grades at catering school the owner had seen.


Rome-born head sommelier, Davide Bottoni joined Cut in October 2022, having spent over a year as head sommelier at Claridge’s. Previous roles included Maze (RIP) under Master Sommelier, Arnaud Bardary, Skygarden, and Hide, where he oversaw 8,000 bins.

Bottoni mentioned the average spend on a still bottle at Cut is a gutsy £350, while guests frequently part between £45-50 on wines by the glass, albeit served in 175ml format. These range from Prats & Symington’s 2022 Post Scriptum Douro blend 2022 at £20 to 2014 Sassicaia at £280, via Wolfgang Puck’s Wachau Grüner Veltliner collaboration with F.X. Pichler (2019) at £32. Meanwhile, 125ml of Cristal champagne from 2014 may be yours for £190. Beyond a currently limited offer from England, sparkling wines by the bottle range from Deville, Carte Noire NV at £90 to Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs 1996 at £4,500, by way of another Wolfgang Puck iteration in the form of Calistoga Blanc de Noirs 2014 at £195. Grower champagnes are a little keener than Grande Marques, with Frederic Savart’s L’Overture Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut NV (£160) some £20 cheaper than R de Ruinart.

The most economical still bottle is the morello-scented Monte Tessa Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2020 at £45, with the most lofty-of-price being Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s La Tâche 2014 (£20,000).

Key still libraries include – sourced direct – Sine Qua Non, with the reportedly poised magnum of 15.8% Next of Kyn, Grenache No. 5 2011 priced at £5,500. There are multiple vintages of Harlan, Opus One, Verité, Lokoya, and Screaming Eagle. From Europe, with roots reaching to 1965, over 50 vintages form the Lafite catalogue, including “highlight 1969” which Bottoni had the joy of tasting, as well as 25 vintages of Mouton. Bottoni hints the latter collection was much larger until the human equivalents of wine-savvy locusts depleted it alongside some of the finest wagyu steaks known to humanity. The remaining Moutons have been so carefully preserved “that they taste ten years younger than what the label says,” promises Bottoni.

Look hard, and you will be rewarded with relative bargains, including 2005 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco at below retail (£110), the very rare 2014 Miani Friuli Chardonnay (300), and, also from 2014, Estate Argyros First Release Vinsanto (£195 per 50cl). At over £3,500 cheaper than retail is Graham’s Ne Oublie 1882 Port, encapsulated in “Atlantis” glass (£8,000).

Bottoni, who is planning a family camper van Route 66 road trip, is assisted by Mandarin-speaking Romain Barina. Born close to the Czech-Austrian border, Barina is a self-confessed fan “of slopes and schnitzels”. Both maintain a close friendship with the head sommelier and sake sage, Saki Takase of Sushi Kanesaka upstairs, and their colleagues at The Dorchester over the road. The restaurant manager is Emily Morrison.

At Bar 45 above, bar manager, Enrico Perri, masters a Negroni trolley, while offering, in homage to Pucks’ Oscar connections, “A Toast to Hollywood Glamour” which combines Champagne with clementine liqueur, pink pepper-pepped Campari, Antica Formula, and kaffir lime. We noted a dearth of options when it comes to Rye whiskeys – perhaps surprisingly, given the North American nature of the restaurant.


Located beneath the dining room, the kitchen and its gas and briquette-fired grill, beside which a pot of the secret seasoning stands, is overseen by Cornish-born and raised executive chef and Champagne lover, Elliott Grover, whose previous roles include Scott’s, Hix Soho, The Ned, and Duck and Waffle. Grover works with head chef Ibrahim Ozgur (previously from another 45 address, 45 Jermyn St.) Today’s lunch was, however, overseen by Mahesh Gurung.

Attesting to a close relationship betwixt Cut and Rothschild & Co, Bottoni poured the enjoyably reductive Solera Champagne, Barons de Rothschild Concordia Brut NV into ample Riedel vessels alongside gougères and precise, sesame cones of tuna tartare and kombu.

With a largely un-spiced USDA fillet tartare intended to show, not hide, the sheer quality of the meat spun with a little parsley and quail egg yolk on the side, Bottoni headed to Sonoma’s Sebastopol. A victorious result from a “fight” with the importer to have a generous enough allocation to pour it by the glass, Kistler’s 2021 Pinot Noir brought cheerful strawberry and freeze-dried raspberry notes, all tailored in a light oak frame to the fine tartare.

The main act, Sunday roast, which we consider near sacrosanct, ensued. Plentiful folds of dry-aged, grass-fed English sirloin met Yorkshire puddings roasted in wagyu fat and flavourful carrots. “It’s the quantity which makes the poison,” said our guest, Masha Reiner, the executive chef for Lina Stores, as we doused the plate in Marmite-like gravy. With this hearty ensemble, Bottoni decanted, by candle, Mt. Vedeer’s blueberry and graphite scented 2014 Malbec Cuvée – although one merchant described it as having “hot stones and cement” notes – into a far-reaching Riedel Swan decanter.

Finally, with ‘The Chocolate One’, a layered chocolate mousse, with subtle feuilletine crunch, and gilding the lily, a gianduja chocolate sauce, Bottoni poured the highly drinkable, antique furniture-scented 24-years-old Agricola Caparsa Vin Santo, an unfiltered collage of Malvasia Bianca, Trebbiano, and Malvasia Nero.

Last word

From flawless gougères to the final, homemade cookies, Sunday lunch at Cut is, for those with means, a safe space of happy indulgence. And, from Friday 10th May to 29th September, you can book an alfresco pop-up of Bubbledogs at 45, replete with flowing grower champagnes…

Best for

  • North American superstar wines
  • Vetted collections of first-growth Bordeaux
  • Steaks, shellfish, and sumptuous puddings
  • Art-rich, cossetting setting

Value: 87, Size: 96, Range: 96.5, Originality: 94, Experience: 98.5; Total: 94.4

45 Park Lane, London, W1K 1PN;020 7493 4545;;

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