I’m not really one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but I won’t deny the tendency to make a few wishes – things I’d like to do, places I’d like to go, in the coming year. One of those was to visit The Remedy in London’s Fitzrovia District. I’m not sure why it took me so long after all the photos I’d envied on Instagram throughout 2016, and we had tried to go, for sure. Anyway, a mere ten days into 2017 we managed to secure a table for four, not bad!
One reason we’d not been able to get a booking before became apparent as soon as we walked in. The place is tiny, really tiny. They can seat forty people, I think, plus ten outside (not in these temperatures, they can’t). There’s hardly anywhere for a coat and work bag. In some places that would be a right pain, but here it doesn’t matter. Brilliant aperitifs, tick. Stunning deep wine list, tick. Really great food, tick. Friendly and helpful staff, tick.
The wine list is what all my wine friends go to The Remedy for, but it would be foolhardy to neglect the list of aperitifs. There are plenty of adventurous options, a lot of Lillet, and a good fix of gin. I had my first ever white negroni. It was brilliant, and only the first of several reasons why I can’t wait to go back.
The food is very much in the small(ish) sharing plate format. You certainly need a number of them, although the sausage dishes come with delicious chips, and are more substantial (and come in at £10). Courgette Frittata and Grilled Octopus were my personal selections, but I also shared some Smoked Duck, and Chorizo Sausages with chips. It was all good but the octopus and the chorizo were exceptionally so. Simple but well done, with the octopus cooked perfectly, something easy to get wrong. I didn’t have any of the oysters, but they were pronounced fresh, from Jersey I think. We finished with Antica Formula and Orange Sorbet, which was a perfect palate cleanser.
The wine list is quite a thing to behold. As someone who has seen the wine bar scene in so many capital cities blossom in the past few years, it’s no surprise to find a decent wine list, but The Remedy just seems to get hold of so many wines you rarely see elsewhere. It’s probably no surprise that David and Renato, who run The Remedy, used to work at Terroirs, the first of the wine bar/restaurants owned by Les Caves de Pyrene. There are plenty from CdP’s exciting portfolio on the list.
We did ask for one rare wine, Alice and Olivier De Moor’s “Cuvée 1902” Aligoté. The De Moors are a favourite Chablis producer, based in the village of Courgis (where the only other producer is young rising star, Thomas Pico). I’d tasted their current vintage of Aligoté with Alice at the Real Wine Fair last year and was stunned by its quality. Probably the best Aligoté I’ve tried (I’m guessing that Coche-Dury was still too young!). We were told that it was sold out. Now I’m usually slightly cynical in such cases. Parisian natural wine bars are notorious for saying “non!”, saving their Overnoys and Ganevats for regular customers. But I later found out (Doug Wregg told a friend) that there were only 24 bottles of this imported into the UK.
Anyway, we chose the De Moor Chablis L’Humeur du Temps 2015 instead. It was brilliant, very possibly the best bottle of this that I’ve had for a while. This was the first ever De Moor wine I bought if my memory serves me, and it’s also the cuvée I’ve drunk most often. I first found it in, of all places, Berry Brothers‘ “factory outlet” just outside Basingstoke. This is a great place not only to discover bargains, but also new wines. De Moor are, of course, part of the Caves de Pyrene portfolio, but I have found one or two De Moors in the Basingstoke warehouse, and it’s a shame I find it pretty difficult to get over there these days.
The Chablis was £75 off the list at The Remedy. This may sound expensive, but is just about on the good side of typical for London restaurant markups (about double the retail price in this case). Wine drinkers may not like subsidising the food, but the food here is pretty well priced, and an overall bill of under £60 per person for aperitifs, plenty of food including dessert/cheese, a great bottle of wine plus a couple of extra glasses of red, isn’t bad at all for a night out in London.
The Remedy is brilliant. Good food and drink (do take a peek at the list of Madeira by the glass on one of the blackboards, and the magnum selection), and a lot of fun with a warm atmosphere. If you’ve not been, be sure to book for dinner. They are now open all day in the week, for breakfast (with really good coffee), lunch and dinner. Shorter hours on Saturday, closed Sunday (see web link below).
The Remedy, 124 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, London W1, 020 3489 3800