As is often the way Christmas wasn’t a time for any startling food and wine discoveries, rather for celebrating favourite combinations but I realise I forgot to mention one pairing just before Christmas at Angelus restaurant in Lancaster Gate.
Angelus is one of the only restaurants I can think of which showcases a sommelier rather than a chef - in this case Thierry Thomasin who used to work at Le Gavroche and then at Aubergine with William Drabble. A while ago he set up his own place, a typically French neighbourhood restaurant with a strong wine list which recently won an award at the first London Restaurant Festival awards for its ‘warmth and welcome’.
The food, which is cooked by Martin Nisbet is Michelin one star in style but it’s the wine list that’s the main attraction, not least for the chance to drink affordable claret like the beautifully balanced 2005 Château Sergant Lalande de Pomerol which was available in half bottles. (I wasn’t being mean - I was dining with a non-drinker!) It proved the perfect match with a dish of ultra-tender Glenbervie beef cheek and creamy mash. I normally look to the Rhône for dishes like this but this was a timely reminder that a modest claret from a good vintage can work every bit as well.
Incidentally Angelus (like Thierry’s alma mater Le Gavroche) offers a great lunch deal for £36 which includes 3 courses, half a bottle of wine, mineral water, coffee and petits fours. It’s also open 7 days a week which is useful on a Sunday night.
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