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Trivet team opens Labombe Wine Bar

With the announcement of a wine bar opening up inside two-Michelin-starred Trivet in Bermondsey, Louis Thomas looks at what to expect at chef Jonny Lake and sommelier Isa Bal’s new offering.

Since opening in 2019, Trivet, the brainchild of The Fat Duck’s Bal and Lake, has gone on to become a stalwart of London’s restaurant scene, with its first Michelin Star in 2022 and a second following with the publication of this year’s guide.

But now Trivet is doing something a bit different, with a wine bar concept popping up inside on Monday nights.

Asked if they had considered Labombe as a separate site, rather than within Trivet, Bal and Lake said: “The thought process was the other way around. We wanted to do it here first and develop the concept to a mature level before thinking of opening a standalone spot.”

“We are normally closed on Mondays at Trivet and frankly that’s the only day that we could do Labombe,” said the pair, explaining the reasoning behind Labombe’s opening hours. “Also, many of our peers are off on Mondays, which may be an attractive option for them to come and spend that evening here.”

The Trivet list, which is about 450 bottles strong, will be rifled through by Bal each week to find something interesting for guests to swirl and sip.

“We open one wine each week and sell it more or less at cost price, something special. One glass per person and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Other than that there is a large range of wines by the glass and bottle available as per Trivet’s list,” Bal and Lake revealed. “We tend to post about the special wines we will be opening either early on Monday or over the weekend before Monday. At the moment, that is the only way to find out.”

“Although Trivet’s full wine list is available on Monday evenings, for us, Labombe is much more about taking the opportunity to open bottles of wine that we are excited about. Wines that are showing particularly well at the time and offering them by the glass,” they shared.

As for prices for a glass of whatever is being served, it was revealed that they will go from between £7.50 to over £100.

Of course, no wine bar is complete without something to nibble on while nursing a glass.

“Labombe dishes are very much our versions of Italian and French classics. It is food that we like to cook for ourselves. Smaller and larger dishes using the same high quality ingredients that we like to use at Trivet but done in a simpler way that exudes a casual elegance to match the feeling of Labombe itself.”

Among the dishes teased is farinata (a Genovese chickpea flour pancake) with onion & rosemary, seasonal green asparagus, anchovy cream & scallop roe, and the perhaps slightly provocatively named Hot Tongue Bun, consisting of braised ox tongue
dressed with anchovy mayo, pickles & blackcurrant mostarda.

The notion of “casual elegance” extends to the pairings, or rather, the lack thereof: “At Labombe we aren’t trying to show people ‘what wine with what dish’, but more the conviviality of wine. If someone wants to drink a full bodied Barossa Shiraz with their fish that’s fine by us. If they want to drink a crisp white with their red meat dish that’s also good.”

The big question is, of course, whether we might see Labombe open as a separate site in its own right anytime soon, once the concept is ironed out. Posed with this, Bal and Lake said: “The short answer is ‘yes’, we would love to see Labombe as a stand alone site and develop into its own personality. This will also depend on how financing goes.”

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