Though the bring your own booze concept traditionally brings to mind budget restaurants, many upmarket venues are now welcoming diners to come with alcohol on certain evenings.
Below, Ten Lifestyle Concierge’s restaurants experts pick their favourites and the service’s in-house sommelier makes suggestions of what wine and champagne to take. Whether you’ve got a special vintage put aside or you plan to collect something on the way, Ten also highlights three of the capital’s most impressive bottle shops.
28 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1K 7EH
Designed with a hunting lodge in mind, blue leather seating and warm lighting create an intimate atmosphere in this contemporary space. With a tendency towards game and red meat, the menu also features a variety of excellent fish dishes. On Mondays, there is no corkage at the bar and we recommend enjoying a bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Non-Vintage Champagne with the Carlingford rock oysters – drop it off earlier to ensure it is perfectly chilled by dinner.
Le Café Anglais
8 Porchester Gardens, London W2 4DB
Considered one of the best French bistros in West London, this brasserie-style restaurant features an art deco interior with pistachio-coloured booths and high ceilings. Diners are welcome to bring their own bottle any day of the week but the usual corkage is waived on Mondays. The venue is most popular for its game options, including partridge, woodcock and pheasant, so our choice of wine is the Louis Jadot Côte de Nuits-Villages with earthy, truffle notes.
Hix Oyster & Chop House
36-37 Greenhill’s Rents, London EC1M 6BN
Housed in a former sausage factory which became a fish restaurant, this Smithfield establishment still retains many of its original fittings, with wooden floors and white tiled walls. Owned by English chef and restaurateur Mark Hix, the menu features oysters from the British Isles and meats on the bone. On Mondays, there is no corkage and diners can pick up a bottle at the Nicolas wine shop next door, where they enjoy a five per cent discount before 8pm.
Outlaw’s at the Capital
22-24 Basil Street, London SW3 1AT
Following the success of his restaurants in Rock, Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw brought his style of simply prepared, sustainable seafood to the Capital hotel. The seasonal menu features dishes such as crab risotto and baked cod with samphire. There is no corkage for standard or magnum sized bottles on Thursdays, when guests order two courses per person. To complement the fish dishes we suggest a fresh and acidic white wine, such as the Camel Valley Bacchus from Cornwall.
27 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1HG
The sister venue to Green Man & French Horn in Covent Garden, this rustic restaurant in Battersea is a favourite with the locals. The seasonal, ingredient-led menu changes daily so check online before you choose your wine, or take a dry sherry to complement the selection of cold meats – Manzanilla La Gitana from Hidalgo in Spain may work very well. Alternatively, enjoy 30 per cent off the carefully selected wine list, which features many bottles from the Loire Valley.
With a new opening in Knightsbridge, there are now five venues of this upmarket steakhouse chain. On Mondays, customers can take their own wine and pay £5 corkage per bottle, whether it’s standard size or a Balthazar. Though there are other dishes available, steak is usually the order of the day, which we would pair with a bottle of Catena Alta Malbec, a full-bodied red from Argentina. Also serving superb cuts of meat, sister venue Foxlow in Clerkenwell has the same policy on a Tuesday.
The bottle shops
59 Abbeville Road, SW4 9JW
This independent wine merchant offers more than 450 wines from across the world, but there’s a definite emphasis on Italy and Portugal. With 16 wines to taste on daily rotation, the knowledgeable staff will guide you through the listings to find the perfect bottle for your meal. Also, check out the large selection of craft ales brewed by London’s leading small-batch breweries.
Berry Bros & Rudd
3 St James’s Street, SW1A 1EG
Possibly one of the most well respected wine merchants in the world, this Piccadilly institution has been trading on the same site for more than 300 years. The Georgian cellar stocks all of France’s finest and the whole places oozes history; however, it keeps up with the times and has a decent New World selection. The staff have an encyclopaedic knowledge and the company’s own label is very good.
Some of the price tags on the bottles that line the walls of this two-storey shop are jaw-dropping – they even stock a bottle of the most expensive white wine ever sold, a Chateau d’Yquem 1811 priced at £98,700. If you’re intrigued, you can taste some of the world’s finest wines for a fee. Aside from the rare and vintage bottles, there are labels here for every taste and budget and there’s now a branch on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia.
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