Thursday, January 15, 2015
The Wine Library, 23rd December
I wandered past The Wine Library on one of my many strolls around the city and of course I had to investigate what could be going on in there as soon as I got home. A Library of Wine sounded too good to ignore. It turns out it is a wine cellar and shop but it is also a restaurant of sorts during lunch where you can browse its wares, pick out a lovely bottle of wine (or two) and enjoy it with the all you can eat buffet luncheon they provide for only £20.
These are definitely the finer wines so don’t expect to pick up a bottle for the same price you’d get one for in Tesco. You’re still going to pay roughly restaurant-level prices (although I noticed a couple for around the £12 mark). But just imagine how much these would cost if you actually did order them in a restaurant and you can see this is a good-value way of wining while dining.
The food they provide is exactly the sort of thing you want to eat with wine. The table they lay out is festooned with cheeses and meats in charcuterie and ‘pate’ form, as well as plenty of bread and crackers to go with it, chutneys, fruit, dips and even quiche.
I believe they more or less always have the same thing, but when we went we tucked into a deeply flavoured venison terrine, a very fatty and moist pork belly rillete, plus several different cured meats. They also had duck liver pate which I didn’t try and a smoked mackerel mousse which I knew would be too fishy for me. The quiche that day was broccoli and they also had a lovely red pepper hummuslike dip.
Cheeses covered the range from hard to soft and were very, very smelly. In fact when you approach the Wine Library, the smell hits you before you’ve even fully opened the door. One cheese was particularly brutish on the nose, though not quite so strong when you ate it – it had a very intense tang to it, and was one of my favourites. Naturally I have now forgotten what it was. They also include the usual suspects: brie, and a blue cheese and a cheddar as well. We filled our plates and then went back for more! But just the once.
The wine we chose was a Chablis for £18 and making it last long enough to accompany the two plates of food we had was a challenge. Good wine really is such a joy to drink, none of that back of the throat acidity that makes you wince. It is worth splashing out on every now and then. Happily, in this instance, we didn’t have to.