Wednesday, October 23, 2013
10 Cases, 15th October
10 Cases (as you probably know already because it has been open ages now) takes its name from the fact that it only ever buys 10 cases of each wine. So if you come across one you like, you have to return pretty smartish to get a second taste. Quite a clever way to encourage return business - because also, they will have new wines for you to try all the time!
It describes itself as a small bistrot and small indeed it is. There are a few spaces by the bar to sit and then space for about 30 diners at most. There was a lot of scooching around and that sort of ballet you do when two of you are trying to get out of each other's way, if anyone ever got up to go to the bathroom. But it's very cute and this lack of space if completely forgivable.
The wine was absolutely the star of the show. It's by no means cheap but I would say, based on the bottle we had that it is worth it if you happen to feel flush that day. We got a riesling blend combining pinot gris, muscat and, gewurztraminer called Domaine Pfister Cuvee 8. It was delicious. It might sound strange to say so, but it had a texture to it. My friend remarked that it was sweet on the tongue at first but that then melted away leaving a light, drier touch. It was silky smooth to drink, almost a little buttery. It was hard to make it last the whole meal but at £40 we felt we had to!
The food was perfectly good as well and I'd happily eat there again, but it did feel like it took a backseat to the wine. I really enjoyed my courgette fritters which came with a light, fresh tomato salsa with olive oil. Alison had the soft shell crab to start with avocado salad. I cannot comment on the crab as I didn't have any but the avocado was welcome as always.
My pork belly was nice but I think it could have been cooked for longer and the crackling crackled up a bit more. Sometimes it was a little chewy and the fat hadn't rendered down as much as I'd like. The mashed potato and slow cooked red cabbage were absolutely delicious though.
Alison had the steak. We enquired about how it would be cooked and she opted for medium rare, with the waitress saying the chef would be happy to chuck it back on the grill if it was too blue. (Our waitress by the way, was ever so friendly and affectionate - oh yes, she wasn't above a little human contact!) The steak came with some well executed chips and I DID have a bite of the steak which had a nice slightly charred flavour. Alison got through two-thirds of it and then realised that actually, it was a bit too underdone for her. However, we both felt that the window of opportunity for requesting further cooking had passed, being that she had eaten the rest of her dish and all they would have been putting on the grill was a few mouthfuls! The chips that came with the steak were excellent.
Alas, we didn't end up having dessert, instead going across to the Cross Keys for another glass of wine, which we knew would taste like acid in our mouths compared to what we had just samples. It did. But the Cross Keys was a very cool little pub and I would go back there probably before treating my taste buds to such delectable wine, rather than after.