Bar Review: Bedales Wine Bar, Borough Market

Bedales of Borough Market – People Watching Paradise

Bedales of Borough benefits from an excellent location and is a trendy, yet unpretentious wine bar that nestles perfectly in the area. Borough Market is one my favourite parts of London; a melting pot of flavours, as diverse as anywhere in the world. It feels unspoilt by corporate interests, just a shame a loaf of bread is £4. The down to earth interior and warm staff created a welcoming atmosphere, while chaotic South London went about its business all around us.

Bedales wine was very much enjoyed, although chosen from a relatively limited by-the-glass menu. That said there was an impressive collection of bottles to order. I tried orange wine for the first time, which was rustic and robust, but I was glad I ordered a glass rather than a bottle. Some nibbles consisted of top quality ingredients but offered laughably small portions: small bursts of Mediterrean umami punctuated the wine glugging. The bites to eat were just too expensive given the almost zero lack of preparation required.

Sipping wine and people watching – are there any greater pleasures? Well yes probably, but at least this was legal. Bedales of Borough Market is a great little place for classier boozing, but don’t bother eating.

Bedales of Borough Market Review Summary

Atmosphere 9/10   Cost 3/10    Quality 8/10    Service 8/10

Bedales of Borough Restaurant Review

Great selection of wines by the bottle, not so much by the glass

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Bar Review: Le Beaujolais, The West End

Le Beaujolais – Wine Down & People Watch

Being turned away from The Ivy was embarrassing; I felt heartbroken, like a teenager who’s object of desire remained unrequited. I lamented that I’d ironed a shirt and cleaned my ears for no reason. However, all was not lost as I stumbled across the charming Le Beaujolais practically next-door.

Le Beaujolais looks French, it feels French, and it tastes French, and it even sounds French. But there is something distinctively alien to any truly authentic French wine bar which I couldn’t immediately put my finger on. Then it hit me. The staff were welcoming, helpful and cheerful. Obviously, this kind of attitude wouldn’t survive in Paris, but their loss is our gain. I later discovered that Le Beaujolais is London’s oldest French wine bar, with downstairs reserved as an intriguing member’s only club.

Do you remember Tie Rack; those cubicles offering a plethora of patterned neckwear, for sales reps who’d spilt their latte on the Virgin Pendolino? This is what Le Beaujolais is, with the addition of an excellent cheese and wine selection. I have no idea why hundreds of ties dangle from the ceiling like polyester stalactites, but it was all rather fun.

Nestled in the heart of theatreland, sitting outside Le Beaujolais with a bottle of something provides a perfect people watching spot. A high-quality meat filled baguette was sneaked into proceedings, served with an unusually violent harissa. My only gripe was the stingy sized wine glasses – they didn’t do justice to the high-quality wine served.

Le Beaujolais Review Summary

Atmosphere 9/10    Cost 6/10    Quality 8/10    Service 8/10

Le Beaujolais London Restaurant Review

Wine and bread; what the French do best.

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Bar Review: Keith’s Wine Bar, Aigburth

Keith’s Wine Bar – Loveable Lark Lane

Keith’s Wine Bar is nestled on Lark Lane – the best street in Liverpool. Lark Lane was a hipster enclave before anybody knew what one was. Keith’s Wine Bar provided the ideal spot to watch artsy students, old-fashioned cabbies who define ‘scouser’ and shadowy alcoholics shuffling about in fine fettle. Lark Lane has managed to avoid Pret-A-Manger and Zizzi moving in, but I fear it’s only a matter of time. Nearby restaurants ‘Belly’ and ‘Meat Factory’ provide a sense of the neighborhood.

Keith’s Wine Bar is about as unpretentious as a wine bar gets – which is no bad thing. That said, 1/5 score from the Food Standards Agency probably is a bad thing. The holes in the walls were not the idea of an interior design agency. With bohemian artwork and rough wooden tables set with dripping candles teetering from wine bottles, this is as shabby chic as Liverpool gets. For a moment I mentally drifted off to the continent until I overheard: “That’s a boss Pinot, that lad”.

The staff were approachable and provided the natural, witty rapport that Liverpudlians are genetically predisposed to offer. Contrary to reports, Keith’s Wine Bar isn’t dirt cheap, but it’s certainly reasonable. The wine selection is robust, with craft beers also available.

As Keith’s is, of course, a wine bar, I expected the cheeseboard not to be sourced from a dinner lady supplier. There was at least plenty of it, so much so I had nightmares for weeks.

Seek Keith’s out (but don’t tell anyone else).

Keith’s Wine Bar Review Summary

Atmosphere 8/10    Cost 7/10    Quality 5/10    Service 8/10

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