Social Wine and Tapas, Marylebone: restaurant review
Read our review of Social Wine & Tapas, the smart new wine and tapas bar and restaurant from Jason Atherton in Marylebone, Central London. Headed by executive head sommelier Laure Patry and chef Frankie Van Loo, you'll find an extensive wine list and a menu full of modern tapas. Try the Jamon and manchego toastie with fried quail's egg.
Social Wine and Tapas in a nutshell
Quality wine and smart tapas in sleek surroundings.
The wine guru
Laure Patry, a member of Jason Atherton’s The Social team for 10 years, is heading up this venue as executive head sommelier assisted by Artur Aronov, head sommelier, and an entire serving staff of sommeliers; which makes it a hotbed of wine expertise. As you’d expect there’s a substantial wine list. Patry is a champion of small growers so it’s a chance to try lots of new wines - as well as by the glass offers, there are flights of three 75ml glasses. If you like what you’ve tasted you can visit the wine shop on the ground floor or book into one of the regular tasting events.
Frankie Van Loo has moved from Social Eating House and together with Jason Atherton has come up with a menu of modern, refined tapas.
Jamon and manchego toastie topped with fried quail’s eggs (£6) is the cutest version of a toasted sandwich we’ve ever seen, a perfect light mouthful of sweet ham and crisp bread. The jamon selection (£15) gives you a taste of all the hams including Ibercio bellota, teruel lomo and chorizo magno. The most suprising dish is the chargrilled carrots, burnt aubergine, miso and walnut pesto (£6), both a brilliant way to cook a carrot and a fantastic flavour combination of sweet, savoury, smoky and nutty flavours. Norfolk suckling pig, roasted pineapple, sherry caramel (£12) was meltingly tender and darkly meaty. For dessert try the classic crème Catalana (£5).
What’s the room like?
On the ground floor there’s a tapas bar with a dining counter surrounded by comfy blue stools, and an open kitchen. Downstairs in the cellar bar there’s more of a wine bar feel. On both floors the wine is the star; lighting picks out the bottles lining the walls and makes the glassware twinkle. Some of the tables look small but there are a couple of ingenious bespoke devices for keeping everything in order... a table clamp holds the jamon and cheese boards above the level of your plates, and neat cutlery and napkin holders keep clutter to a minimum.
Need to know
You can’t book but with 70 covers hopefully there won’t be too long a queue - although this venue is far too comfortable to be a quick in and out joint. Go early just in case.
What we loved
The knowledgeable staff and the delicate wine glasses with ultra thin stems; Patry says they're stronger than they look because they're made from one piece of glass.