Tag Archive for: wines by the glass

Thrilled and honoured to be today’s Test Drive in Hot Dinners

Thank you Hot Dinners for visiting us and for your lovely words about our menu 🙂 We look forward to welcoming you again 🙂

Their full review can be read on Hot Dinner’s excellent web site.

…..”What’s on the menu?

Their big thing is the section of Josper grilled Longhorn steaks so you can share a prime rib or porterhouse if there’s a group of you, or order other cuts individually. But actually it’s one of those menus that has just loads you’d genuinely fancy eating on. Make sure, though, that you start with the cheese croquettes (£3.50) – the oxtail mayo they’re served with is just amazing.

From our starters whipped goats cheese with proscuitto and fresh peas (£70 was a super summer dish – perfect for the terrace and the seared scallops served on creamed cauliflower with a wild garlic gremolata (£9) was a generous dish. We opted for both a rib eye (£28 for 350g) which came with that wonderful sear only the Josper can give and a pork rib eye with smoked aubergine puree (£18) – you could really taste the quality of that Ginger Pig pork.

Sides were all super, but we would be remiss if we didn’t tell you to order the brown crab roast potatoes – a dish of sheer genius from chef Oliver Pollard (who comes here via SMOKESTAK, Marcus Wareing and Barrafina).

After all that we weren’t able to go big on the desserts, but the black pepper pannacotta with balsamic strawberries was perfectly wobbly and a scoop of their malted cornflake gelato made us want more.

What about if you’re veggie?

There’s an entirely separate menu for vegans who are well catered for here. The charred cauliflower dish sounds worth a try (£14) and the heritage tomato salad with sherry vinegar and basil (£4) was one of the sides we tried and was very good indeed.

And to drink?

There’s a decent section of wines by the glass – with an option of 125ml (why?), 175ml, a carafe and a full bottle. The Etna Bianco from Sicily’s Planeta vineyard was at the top end of that at £11.25 for a proper glass, but was worth it. Otherwise there are plenty of bottles in the upper 20s and early 30s or you can push the boat out and get yourself a magnum o Artesmis from the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa for £190.

Overall thoughts:

Just a super restaurant – and one we’d happily come back to. There’s plenty to enjoy here and although the emphasis is on the steaks, there’s so much more than that’s also worth trying on the menu. A great addition to the Victoria area.


Duncan and I have always believed in having an extensive and varied list of wines by the glass. It not only allows guests who do not wish to drink a carafe of bottle the option of a single glass but also allows guests to play with different pairings throughout their meal and explore wines that they may not know. We are very excited to be adding Orin Swift’s Papillion to our by the glass and bottle list at The Jones Family Kitchen.

Compared to many other producers with long lineages the rebel with an artistic bent, Dave Phinney, and his company Orin Swift, are new giants in the pantheon of established lauded wine estates. Robert Parker called Dave Phinney “one of the most talented winemakers of our time,” and I concur. He’s been doing some very exciting things and I believe he and his wines fully merit the recognition they’ve been getting.

Dave Phinney Orin Swift

The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when Dave Phinney visited Florence on a whim to spend a semester “studying”. It was in Italy that he was introduced to wine and how it was made. He was immediately hooked. He ditched his ideas of becoming a lawyer. Four days after leaving university he moved from Arizona to Napa and he took a job with Robert Mondavi Winery as a temporary harvest worker. Deciding that if he was going to work hard he was going to do so for himself, one year out of university, in 1998, he founded Orin Swift Cellars (named from his father’s middle name, Orin, and his mother’ maiden name, Swift.) Over the next decade he explored and experimented while he made wine both for himself and others. His wines met with considerable success and have meant that he now owns vineyards not only in Napa but also in Chile, France and Spain.

What’s so different and special about Dave Phinney’s wines? He has a restless and inquisitive mind which pushes established wine rules and has turned some of the assumed wine making wisdoms upside down. In his own vineyards, he lets his grapes hang on their vines longer than most vineyard owners to get greater flavour concentration and viscosity. He tops up grapes from his own vineyards, by buying and blending grapes from a huge array of vineyards around the world. If he has one immutable rule to his wine making it’s that he’s committed to only creating wine from the best possible vines he can find, making sure that they are farmed properly, and being fastidious about when the grapes are picked. The demand for Orin Swift wines is huge and it’s not easy to grab a bottle as because of his insistence that he’ll only make the quantity of wine that he has the right quality of fruit for.

The Papillon 2015 we’ve listed is a Bordeaux-styled blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc (15.1% alcohol). It’s a stunning rich, full-bodied, unctuously textured wine with notes of cherry and blackberry. which is delicious now and will last for many years. It has a stunning and instantly recognisable label. Another of Dave Phinney’s many passions is photography. The labels for his wines are always unique and thought-provoking. For Papillion he has chosen the soil and grape stained hands of Vince Tofanelli, an old school vintner in Napa Valley, taken by celebrity photographer (turned wine maker too) Greg Gorman.

Robert Parker’s consistently given Papillion 94 and 95 points in his highly regarded reviews. It’s a fabulous wine alone but also pairs perfectly with our Josper grilled Ginger Pig steak which is why I’m delighted to be including it to our list. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do by the glass, carafe or bottle.