I went to the relaunch of The Table Cafe in Southwark the other day. The main draw for me was the fact that fellow wino, Matt Walls had worked closely with the owner, Shaun Alpine Crabtree to create a wine list that was features wines and grapes that might not normally be found on UK wine lists.
The evening was jam packed with the wine-eratti of the blogosphere, thanks to Matt Walls, who was on hand to meet and greet and talk about his new book (Drink Me) as well as the wines that he had chosen for the list. A small, thoughtful list, there were lots of wines that I, as a wine person, wish would get more exposure: for the reds, St. Laurent (Austrian red), Mencia from Bierzo, a reasonably priced and good Nebbiolo (£30), for the whites – Grillo, Verdeca, and Garnaxta blanc. That was just a few examples of the off the beaten track wines to be found. The best thing is the markup is not outrageous, the majority of the wines in the under £30 price range.
Table Cafe was also introducing a new menu from Chef Cinzia Ghignoni, lately of Duck Soup in Soho, who wants the kitchen to focus on regional Italian cooking with a special emphasis on the cuisines her home region, Northern Italy. Table Cafe is also a big proponent of sustainability and recently was granted 2 stars by the SRA for their use of herbs from local allotments and Regent’s Park honey.
The menu is divided into small and large plates and they serve Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Brunch on the weekends. Their full menus are here online.
As for us, we had a sampling of the food and wine that evening: I neglected to take a pic of the first starter which was Baccala mantecato with polenta crisps paired with a Portuguese Adega de Moncao Vinho Verde 2011.
Very garlicky but as with all things garlic, so, so good. Loved the polenta crisps, could have eaten a bowl of those by themselves. The wine was a good foil, medium bodied with enough fruit going on to stand up to the garlic.
Next we had Friggitelli, ricotta, marjoram and croutons (paired with a Masseria Pietrosa Verdeca 2012). This looked like padron peppers to me and were very similar in taste. I liked the Verdeca, a light summery white wine, a good match with the crunchy croutons and ricotta.
Tiny octopus on a bed of marinated aubergine, I do love aubergine (paired with a Prieure de Montezargues Tavel Rosé 2011) Although the rose was quite dark in colour, it was still very refreshing with loads of red fruits on the palate but enough acidity to make it an excellent food wine.
Reverdito ‘Simane’ Langhe Nebbiolo 2012 with Rosé veal tagliata with girolles & scorzone trufflewas next. I liked the Nebbiolo quite a bit, morish with good structure and black cherry and ripe red fruit flavours – a very good pairing.
We finished off with a fantastic passion fruit tartlet (paired with Chateau Bouscasse ‘Larmes Celestes’ 2012) The pastry was light and flakey, and the tart was not too tart, if you know what I mean. The wine was a blend of gros manseng and petit manseng, two grapes that are often overlooked but make great dessert wines. Nicely done and not too sweet with good acidity.
I enjoyed the food and wine pairings very much and if I find myself in the London Bridge/Southwark area, it’s nice to know that the Table Cafe is close by for some quality nosh and drink.
The Table Cafe is located at 83 Southwark Street London SE1 0HX