Review: Bottles wine bar, Old Spitalfields Market – London

Bottles Old Spitalfields Market London
Tim Firmager
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Bottles, a new Italian wine bar has recently opened in London’s Old Spitalfields Market. It is an ideal location to meet up with girlfriends for a glass of post-work vino and gossip. So of course, we at Vada did just that.

From the co-founders of Bottle & Battles and pop-up restaurant concept, SOOD, Bottles aims to combine Italian warmth on the London scene. The effect is a space that is dedicated to the enjoyment of wine. The ground floor is made up of a long sharing table, on the night we dropped in, about 4 different groups were sat around it. Brass light fittings, exposed brick and reclaimed fruit crates are offset by lush gold and blue velvet soft furnishings and distressed leather stools. Walls are lined with bottles of wine from the collections available to drink, giving the impression to outsiders that this could be more of a wine shop than a wine bar, nonetheless an easy way to interact with the bottles on the menu. A lower floor space is ideal for a more intimate party/group.

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The wine

Bottles focus on wines made by independent producers and small farms, showcasing regional and indigenous varieties and often exploring forgotten grapes. The collection is both a reflection of the owners’ diverse tastes and styles, and the result of careful handpicking by the knowledgeable team of Bottles’ sommeliers – all the serving team are trained. While distinctly Italian, the wine list at Bottles does have an international offering, about 180 labels in total.

As every member of waiting staff a sommelier in their own right, guests receive a personalised service. In our case this was a discussion of previous trips to Italy and unusual wines sampled, moving on to an education on what Bottles offer. A sample of glasses that we tried included:

  • A Gavi di Gavi (2012) – £8
  • A Bourgogne Blanc Domaine LeFlaive (2015) with a Coravin – £12
  • A Chateau Lyonnat Lussac St Emilion (2012) with a Coravin – £11

And for those wondering, a Coravin is a machine that allows extraction of wine from the bottle, without removing the cork, to avoid any oxidisation.

The food

Having partnered with SOOD, there is a small selection of plates – don’t expect full meals, this is a wine bar after all. We chose the Iberico pork (cooked) with fermented cherries and coconut milk (£16) and the handmade spaghetti all’ amatriciana (£13.50). We were impressed by the Iberico pork, although the mouth-puckering cherries shouldn’t be eaten alone, they need to be offset by the creamy coconut and softness of the pork – you have been warned. The spaghetti was one of the best we have tried, we took it in turns to slurp this up as we exchanged gossip and stories.

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We also tried the only dessert on the menu, the Tiramisu Sbagliato (£6.50) (literally ‘mistaken’ Tiramisu in English), as it is made with apricot jam and Italian caprino (goats) cheese rather than any kind of coffee and alcohol. Definitely unique (although not unpleasant), the grated caprino atop we could barely taste – perhaps for the better on a Tirasmisu.

Overall thoughts

Bottles is not a venue for a boozy night out, it’s a grown-up venue for those looking to enjoy a glass of their favourite wine with friends. The relaxed environment encourages conversation, even with other patrons. The light bites are on the expensive side, but likely to be more satisfying than some of the other street food on offer in Spitalfields Market. Round up a couple of girlfriends after work, and pop into Bottles to catch up on the latest guy gossip.

Bottles is located at Old Spitalfields Market, 67 Brushfield Street, London, E1 6AA.

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About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.