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What to drink at Roe

Louis Thomas heads to the new Canary Wharf restaurant from the team behind Fallow to find out what’s worth drinking at London’s hottest restaurant opening.

Image credit: Lisa Tse

With almost 240,000 followers on the Instagram account for Fallow in St James’s, it’s fair to say that chefs Jack Croft and Will Murray know a thing or two about tapping into the social media zeitgeist, as their very popular YouTube channel (with a staggering 407,000 subscribers) also attests to. Roe, despite only opening last month, has also garnered more than 85,000 Instagram followers already, but lying beneath the veneer of glossy posts, there is substance to the restaurant, particularly when it comes to the booze.

The cocktails (all £12) range from conventional classics, like the Roe Bloody Mary with Belvedere vodka, to slightly off-piste, such as with the Lemon Verbena Swizzle, which is refreshing, herbaceous, and has (as the name suggests) a wonderful citrus scent. Of those tasted, both myself and my colleague agreed that the clear standout was the Carrot Gimlet, made from No.3 Gin and a house-made carrot cordial.

Personally, my preferred pairing with this would be one of the dessert options, and the best dish of the night – the exceptionally cheesy Tunworth cheesecake, as the sweet, almost buttery gimlet would have worked nicely with the slight farmyard funk of the dessert. Victoria Sharples, group head of wine, suggested that the gimlet also makes “a happy accompaniment” to the squash and bitter leaves salad.


Beyond cocktails, there is plenty to dive into with the wine list.

“We are in the early days at Roe,” said Sharples, “but we have a very eclectic list that appeals to all tastes from classic Burgundy and Bordeaux, to rosé from central Greece and Morocco.”

One notable feature upon first scan of this “eclectic list” is how it is divided, with category descriptors such as “Textural, dry and moreish whites”, “Adventurous” orange and rosé wines, and “Plush, rich and supple reds”.

For Sharples, this is a means of slicing through the confusion of many a restaurant wine list: “We believe this format aligns more closely with the way most people choose their food, making it easier and more accessible to choose a wine. Using these terms and categories, they elicit a feeling rather than providing a daunting, often indecipherable 100-page wine list.”

The sparkling selection definitely does have a patriotic leaning, with Kent, Hampshire and East Sussex producers all on the list – though, of course, Champagne from Ruinart, Krug and Dom Pérignon also features.


Much like Fallow, Roe is not shy to stick as many animals on its menu (and on sticks) as possible – overhearing an order read out as “one cuttlefish, one lamb, one octopus” brought to mind a messed up Noah’s Ark. But how do you pick a wine to complementing so many species?

One dish that might prove problematic from a pairing perspective was the skewer of chicken thighs and lamb sweetbreads – two very different flavour profiles in one mouthful.

“When pairing or finding wines that complement quite different ingredients, we recommend a white blend, something with texture, body and flavour that will stand-up to the ingredients,” argued Sharples. “A ‘shape-shifter’ that bends and melds with the flavours of the dish.”

With that in mind (though this was not tried), the bottle that stands out on the list for having these qualities, would be the Château de Vaudieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2022, blended from Grenache Blanc (70%), Roussanne (22%), and Clairette (8%).

“Our snail Vindaloo flatbread is a tricky one to pair,” Sharples suggested. “It is spicy, smoky, earthy, and a touch salty. The Antxiola Rosado Xakolina is an unexpected win as is the central Greek Mouhtaro Rose from Muses Estate. In fact, our rosé selection offers a variety of styles that pair well with a lot of our dishes.”


For the main event, the odds are that most punters will go for grilled meat of some description – those sat at the counter in front of the kitchen should be warned that smoke is very much part of the experience, though not swearing from the blowtorch-wielding brigade, which, working under Croft that night, operated with remarkable professional calmness and coolness.

Settling for the mixed grill for two (flamed harissa haunch, venison skewer, grilled sausage and smoked peppers), I plumped for a bottle in the “Plus, rich and supple reds” camp – the Agricola Punica Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2020 (£62), a Sardinian Carignano.

Supple tannins, ripe black fruit, smoke, leather, and 14.5% degrees of alcohol – it was, as my colleague put it, “a lovely bit of kit”.

Also tempting, given that it’s a style that is very versatile with different components (such as those of a mixed grill), was the Cossetti La Vigna Vecchia Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2021.

As Roe is in Canary Wharf, there is probably a good customer base more than willing to splash cash like there’s no tomorrow, and the fine wine section of the list reflects this.

Pauillac’s Château Lynch-Bages pops-up a number of times, with prices going from £230 for a 2006 to £360 for a 2010. A 2000 Montrose (£340) and 2006 Cheval Blanc (£960) also appear on what is a very Bordeaux-heavy section of the list (though Burgundy, the Rhône, Tuscany and California also feature).

“We plan to add more fine wines from around the globe as we move along, the fine wine selection will grow along with the rest of the list with time. There’s room for a bit of everything on there with our clientele,” shared Sharples.

Though there are bottles to cater to a certain kind of deep-pocketed, wine-swirling diner, Sharples insists that “there are no rules for wine”, and that “it should be fun and something for everyone to enjoy”.

Indeed, love it or hate it, and I personally have mixed views on this style of food, there is no denying that with their huge social media reach, Croft and Murray are getting people excited about going out for dinner – if these people also get excited about trying a new bottle of something during that dinner, then that’s no bad thing either.

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