I was loathe to put this in the Berlin post because it is a post about us drinking a French wine at a French-style steakhouse in Germany which, on paper, I do find a bit embarrassing.
Luckily, off paper, I realise that firstly I need to get some goddamned perspective and perhaps a significantly higher embarrassment threshold. And secondly, whenever I give this some thought, I realise that I spend about 2/3 of my time in London eating non-English food, and life is all the better for it, so really, what am I even talking about?
It was a welcoming, buzzy room, it was 20 minutes easy walk from our hotel and we went straight in to a great table right in the middle of the restaurant without a reservation. It was the same formula as the Relais de Venise in Marylebone at which I could eat pretty much every night if we lived closer (literally just writing about it is making me salivate) – a fixed menu (although I think Fred’s did a la carte too) of a green salad with a sharp, mouth-watering dressing to start, then sliced steak and shoe-string fries served in two portions to keep it warm. And the most delicious mystery green herby buttery sauce with the steak (yep, salivating again).
Apart from wines I actually sell and work with, it’s rare that I really recognise wines on a wine list out of the hundreds of thousands of possible wines on the general export market. I suppose this is because I’ve only ever worked for Liberty in the trade so I don’t have great familiarity with wines in other UK agents’ portfolios, and because I’ve only really been serious about wine for around 7 years, so there’s still a lot of wines and producers to get to know. I also have a dreadful, dreadful memory for names, producers and vintages, so when I do see a wine I know on a list, it’s usually because it’s so conclusively famous that it’s out of my price range.
So, a complete delight to not only recognise a wine on the list here, but remember it positively, be able to afford it, drink it and have it match absolutely brilliantly with the food. It’s possibly one of the only more ‘natural’ wines that I’ve really loved, trying it after my Dad developed a liking for it and ordered in a few bottles for him and Mum to drink at home. It’s a Bourgeuil and thus made from Cabernet Franc – in this instance a fresh, crunchy and chewy grape. It embodied the things which I imagine are what get people worked up about ‘natural’ wine when it’s good – liveliness, exuberance and bright flavours. This was a really great bottle, and one we both loved.