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Saturday, March 25, 2006

VINOTECA





I AM A VINOTECA BOY

Ah, how many bloggers do you know who would reference an obscure Pet Shop Boy's track for the heading of their daily, er, entry?

After the normal training at 6.30am/chores/shopping/shaving bonce routine that is the norm for my free Saturdays, I decided that I deserved some lunch and a nice glass of wine.

Beguiled, as I had been by Vinoteca on my brief visit pre the disappointing meal at St John, I decided that it might just fit the bill. So, Boxing News in hand, I sauntered in there a little before 1pm.

The place was entirely empty and, I suspect, stays that way until later in the evening. All the better for me. I was able to spend a very happy 45 mins sitting with a glass of Rueda in front of me while munching on a plate of cold meats and cheeses with oatcakes, olives, almonds and chutney.

Vinoteca has been open for a few months. The three owners, Brett, Helena and Charlie are all incredibly amiable and welcoming and really know their stuff. The wine list is serious, extensive, well priced and accessible ( my wine cost a mere £3.85 which is practically giving it away for a wine like that ) the food I saw being prepared the other night looked suitably rustic and hearty. During the daytime at weekends the food options are limited to cold cuts. That was fine by me and I chose a small plate of mixed meat and cheese for £6.00.

Eschewing the normal suppliers of Spanish meats in London, Brindisa etc, Vinoteca imports all of its cuts direct from Huelva via a link that is Helena's friend's boyfriend's father's butcher's supplier ( I kid you not ) but however "six degrees of Spanish Bacon" it may be, it is well worth the effort. The chorizo, lomo and salsichon was all splendid absolutely top quality. They are also, they told me, one of the few to offer Jabugo in the UK.

With the cold cuts some british cheeses ( Monty's and some others, I did not recognise ) good bread ( from St J, I suspect ) served with a suitably lawny olive oil, pickles and biscuits. For £10 including the glass of wine, a very reasonable price for a simple lunch.

Vinoteca does not take reservations in the evening which normally brings me out in hives. However, with friendly people like this and food/wine of this quality, I can see myself happily propping up the bar area waiting for a table.

Well worth a visit

Afterwards, as I pottered home, I realised that Liverpool Vs Everton was on the box. So, a quick pint in The Artillery Arms kept me company while I watched the boys in red beat the boys in blue not really caring either way really.

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