MY BEST FESTIVE WINE PAIRINGS
Time to uncork the classics, and so to some of my seasonal favourites, including three to go with courses from our fabulous Christmas menu: a crowd-pleasing Provence rosé, a robust Bordeaux to warm the soul and a sumptuous sherry to enjoy with sweet treat
Aslina Chardonnay, Western Cape 2022
(14%), £16.99, Majestic
An elegant, rich white from superstar winemaker Ntsiki Biyela, this creamy, zesty Chardonnay is one to savour with a traditional turkey feast.
land. Upstairs in the Grill Room things get a touch more formal – menus are handwritten and tables wear both linen and paper. Meat (all butchered in the basement) plays a starring role: lamb, beef, Iberico pork (from the Ledbury’s Brett Graham), either grilled over those coals or slowcooked in puddings and stews.
‘It is an old-fashioned City chop house brought to the West End,’ says my friend Matthew, his eyes agleam with greedy glee. Scallops, vast, pert and pearlescent, arrive grilled in their shell. The sauce, spiked with a dash of barrel-aged malt vinegar, has a sly acidity, and takes the dish from good to great. A pile of langoustines in garlic butter still carries that delicately fleeting whisper of the sea. Carapaces are picked, claws crunched, our faces slathered with delight.
Iberico ribs offer two bites of tight-textured, sweetly piggy joy, while both rib-eye steak and lamb chops are hewn from superior beasts, lovingly charred, satisfyingly chewy and cooked just the right side of rare. By contrast, beef-cheek and Guinness-suet pudding is a symphony of savoury, soft, exalted nursery food, and far too good to share.
This may be chop-house grub, but with Palmer-watts at the helm, dishes have an extra level of finesse. There’s a subtle art to everything here, and a quiet attention to every detail that makes the service such a joy. It’s the pub and grillhouse that you never knew you dreamed of. Go for a pint, stay for a sausage, linger for the steak and chips.
About £45 per head. The Devonshire, 17 Denman Street, London W1; devonshiresoho.co.uk
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