In a nutshell
Originally founded as a wine importer in 2009, Humble Grape built a strong following based on wine tasting events and private sales. It has now found a permanent home on Battersea Rise as South London’s newest wine bar and shop.
Unsurprisingly, the focus here is wine. As Humble Grape import their wines directly from the vineyards, they don’t have to pass on the hefty middlemen mark-up to their customers. This means that their fantastic selection of wines is available to take home or to drink in by the glass, carafe or bottle, at bargain prices. Food is divided between snacks such as salted cashews and smoked paprika peppers, whole baked camemberts, sourdough toasties and sharing platters.
There’s a great selection of wines from small, lesser-known vineyards around the world, although the big-hitting regions are still included. We began with a fantastic pinot gris, Dr Deinhard, from Pfals, Germany – a brilliant, expansive wine with notes of golden apple and cinnamon without being rich – great value at £8.75 a glass. We also tried a fantastically fruity frappato from Sicily that was packed with flavours of plums, black cherry, red fruits, and just a touch of earthiness.
If you want to go more mainstream, they offer a St Emilion grand cru at just £12.75 a glass, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try the Portuguese branco from the Douro valley. Famed for its red grapes, this bucks the trend to produce a great, fruity, mineral wine. Although the menu only states cheese and meat board separately, ask nicely and they’ll do you a mix, which includes rillettes, terrine, and fennel salami alongside a great selection of cheese including a deliciously creamy goat’s cheese and moreish comté.
What I’ll order next time
We’ll be going back for their toasties, which includes the Buena Vista Club, their take on a Cuban, filled with mortadella, porchetta, provolone and pickles; and the T.A.R.P, which stands for taleggio and roasted peppers. Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t get through the whole wine list, but are keen to see what other hidden gems they have.
What’s the room like
The space has been designed by Jean Dumas of award-winning Trellik design studios (they also designed Rabbit) and blends cork-clad walls, reclaimed wood furniture and industrial lighting. It’s a bit of a tardis, the upstairs is dedicated to the wine shop with a few tables and a private dining area, whereas downstairs is where you’ll find the bar and long bench seating. The bar itself was made from old champagne riddling racks – very cool.
What we liked
Staff were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, there’s no snobbishness surrounding the wine here. We also loved the quirky descriptions on the menus, which reinforce the laid-back vibe.
You get really great value here: glasses of wine start at £6 and don’t break the £14 mark, meaning you can try a couple of different wines. Toasties hover around £8, and the meat platter is £13.50.
Written August 2015
By Sarah Kingsbury
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