Londonwinegirl goes to wine heaven (28-50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen)

I know the title sounds like it might be hyperbole. Even though until an embarrassingly late age (26 1/2) I pronounced that last word as “hyper-bowl”, now that I’m a proper blog-writer, I know all about hyperbol-ee, and you can trust me when I say that it is totally true and not an exaggeration when I claim that 28-50 is wine heaven.

28-50's decor - littered with the carcasses of bottles preciously enjoyed there

If you’re wondering what a “wine workshop and kitchen” is, the answer as far as I could make out from my visit on Friday night is that it’s basically a restaurant with great food, no tablecloths, a big bar and an AMAZING wine list. 28-50 doesn’t look like much from the road (it’s in that funny bit of London between Chancery Lane and the Strand), and it is in a basement, but is warm, welcoming and, for a place that’s all about the vino, refreshingly unpretentious. No-one tried to impose any workshopping on our meal, for which I was grateful.

My gorgeous starter at 28-50 - beetroot and mackerel salad. I would have taken a photo of my main course too, but I ate it too quickly. Sorry.

The wine list is cool for a number of reasons – it’s broad, reasonably priced and best of all, not too massive and scary. There are 15 whites and 15 reds, and everything is available by the glass, 250 ml carafe and bottle. Best of all is that they do a mini-glass, 75 mls, which lets you have loads of different wines over the course of the meal. I tried two different Rieslings, one from New Zealand and one Austrian, which were both great and priced around £4 for a glass, and then LondonWineHusband twisted my arm into sharing a carafe of Nebbiolo with him.

A half-drunk mini-glass of Riesling

The food was great too (the same team owns and runs Texture, which has a Michelin star) and we had three courses plus lots of unusual wine, but the bill came to under £100 for two of us. Get yourself down to Fetter Lane and try it out!

Thanks for reading -


How to shop for wine

There’s no such thing, really, as a typical wine buyer – but something that many of you buying in the UK have in common is that you are women, that you buy wine to drink at home, and that you will spend on average £4.47 a bottle, £2.54 of which is tax and duty.

The odds are high that you will buy your wine in a supermarket, choosing wine by grape variety or brand name or even by price and label. This is a totally ok way to buy wine – supermarkets represent excellent value and especially when wine is on offer (what girl can resist a 3 for 2?) this is a good way of getting wine without spending too much.

Having said that, it’s not the best way to find wine you’ll really enjoy – and not always the best way to get to try new things. The tax, as well as the mark-up, means your average bottle of £4.47 wine costs less than £1 at source – so it’s well worth moving up a couple of quid to get something a bit more drinkable.

My heart sinks when people tell me they won’t spend more than a fiver on a bottle of wine – especially because it makes it so hard to find something you’ll really like drinking! You don’t have to spend mega-bucks, but most of the wines I review here are reasonably priced and amazing quality – and you will definitely not miss the throat-burning cat-pee-and-candy-floss cheap stuff.

The other thing I’d really encourage you to do is to make friends with a wine merchant. There’s one or two on every high street, from brilliant independents to bigger businesses – a couple of my favourites are Lea and Sandeman and Majestic Wine – and generally they contain friendly wine geeks only too happy to suggest reasonably priced alternatives to Blossom Hill Sauv Blanc or your other supermarket favourites. It can be a little intimidating, but remember that you are in charge of what you drink and buy, and that it’s their job to make sure you’re a happy customer!

Happy shopping, and thanks for reading -