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City views, Rosé and weekend brunches as Le Pont de la Tour launches La Maison du Rosé summer terrace

© Le Pont de la Tour Terrace

Le Pont de la Tour and Minuty Rosé launch their new rosé terrace La Maison du Rosé this summer

There’s something about a warm summer night which makes me want to reach for a glass of rose. If that sounds right up your street, there’s a special drinking destination by the banks of the Thames this season. French riverside restaurant Le Pont de la Tour is teaming up with the Minuty Rosé brand to launch a rosé terrace for the summer, La Maison du Rosé.

With stunning views of Tower Bridge and the City of London, La Maison du Rosé will be a sun trap on a warm day. Visitors can enjoy the alfresco surroundings while sipping on Minuty’s prized Rosés, Fruits de Mer platters, unique rosé tastings and weekend rosé brunch menus. The terrace will be adorned with pastel pink colours, pink flowers and Insta-ready decorations. Expect an outdoor bar, a decorative canopy and plenty of blossom and flowers.

Throughout the summer, Le Pont de la Tour will offer Rosé packages with a glass/bottle of Rosé with fresh Fruits de Mer platters. The terrace will also host weekly Rosé brunch on Saturdays, which includes three courses and a bottle of Rose. The brunch menu features Eggs Royale or Benedict, followed by Cornish Blonde skate wing with shrimps and cucumber grenobloise and wild garlic risotto with confit hen egg and parmesan crisps and finally, to finish, French toast with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream or a refreshing lemon tart with meringue.

La Maison du Rosé will also offer guests the chance to enjoy wine tastings and masterclasses on Rosé from the Minuty vineyards on the French Riviera. The terrace will offer a variety of Minuty rosés including the limited-edition Côtes de Provence 2018.

  • La Maison du Rosé is open now until 31 August 2019. At Pont de la Tour, 36D Shad Thames, SE1 2YE. Nearest station: London Bridge. Rose brunches every Saturday: £150 for four people, three courses and a bottle of Minuty Rosé. For more information and booking, visit Le Pont de La Tour website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in August, click here.

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Fiz Bar review: Sharing plates and plenty of bubbles at London’s sparkling wine bar

Fiz Bar

Enjoy sharing plates, with a special version of a cheese toastie, one of the highlights

While a lot of people enjoy sparkling wines, London’s champagne bars tend to be rather exclusive and expensive destinations. With the rise in popularity in the more affordable Prosecco and Cava in recent years, the capital has been ripe for an alternative. Opening in Soho this summer is the capital’s first dedicated sparkling wine bar. Fiz Bar is having a 10 week residency at the Lights Of Soho, offering a range of bubbles and food.

Fiz Bar © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Experiment with white, red or rose sparkling wines

I popped (excuse the pun!) along with a gal pal last week to check it out in its first few days. The venue has taken over the ground floor of members’ club Lights Of Soho in Brewer Street. Immediately walking in the atmosphere was a world away from champagne bars – bustling, casual and full of energy. We pulled up a stool at one of the side tables so had a good vista of the busy bar and kitchen area. The drinks menu features a range of sparkling wine including Prosecco, Cava, English sparkling, Cremante and more by the bottle or glass, with most of the latter in the £5 range. If you’re with a friend who’s not into wines, there’s also a small selection of other drinks, including cider, lager and spirits to keep them refreshed.

As the day on question was pretty hot and summery, I was in the mood for some sparkling rose so started with the Paternina Cava Rose, a fruity wine which went down very well. Next to shake things up I hoped across the Mediterranean to Italy for a glass of Canal di Rajo Lemoss Frizzante, which had a fuller aroma and richer taste because it was unfiltered. Finally to finish off, I enjoyed a couple of glasses of the 47 AD Prosecco, a lovely soft and refreshing wine.

Of course, with all this quaffing going on, it was only sensible we should be lining our stomachs too. Quite wisely, Fiz Bar serves a mix of buns or sharing dishes ranging from £3.75 to £9.50. We opted to share the Grilled asparagus with salsa verde; Smoked Trout with Fennel, Dill Pickles and Charcoal Sourdough; and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Comte, Emmental and Ogleshield. All three dishes were delicious. I thought the charcoal sourdough was particularly interesting, with the trout absolutely yummy. The grilled cheese was very naughty, but incredibly moreish.

Overall, Fiz is a great addition to the London bar scene, offering something different from craft beer houses, champagne bars and speakeasies that are becoming so commonplace. The staff were really friendly and the quality of the food and drink is exceptional. Fiz Bar is in residence until August so check it out while you can.

  • Fiz @ Lights Of Soho, 35 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Open Mon 6pm-11.30pm, Tues-Thur 10am-11.30pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am; Sun 12pm-4pm. For more information, visit the Fiz Bar Website.
Fiz Bar © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Fiz Bar has taken over the ground floor of Lights Of Soho in Brewer Street for the summer

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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Expand your knowledge of wine at Humble Grape’s Wine Dinners

Humble Grape

Brush up on your wine knowledge while enjoying a foodie feast at Humble Grape’s Wine Dinners

Love wine? Fancy knowing more about it? Well one of London’s best independent wine merchants are creating exclusive evenings so you can get more intimate with the mighty grape. Every month, Humble Grape will be hosting a bespoke wine dinner in the private dining rooms of their Battersea and Fleet Street bars. Guests will have the chance to sample their many artisan wines and find out the stories behind them.

Humble Grape will kick off the series of dinners at the end of August by exploring the Chilean Millaman wines from the Andes Mountains. In September, they will travel east to South Africa as specialist winemaker Francois Haasbroek, of Blackwater Wines from Cape Town pays a visit. Then things get more adventurous in October with the Blind Challenge event which will give guests an opportunity to sample unknown and otherwise unavailable wines.

On 30th and 31st August, the Golden Ticket wine winner will feature seven newly imported Chilean wines from Millaman family vineyards. The wines include a Sauvignon Blanc aperitif, full-bodied Chardonnays, a Pinor Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and their Limited Reserve 2014 Malbec, among others. Accompanying the drinks will be sharing platters of charcuterie, cheese and vegetables.

A week later on 6th and 8th September, artisanal wine producer, Francois Haasbroek will be taking guests on a journey from grape to glass. His top five artisanal wines from the Cape Region will be sampled alongside a bespoke four-course meal with a South African twist.

Finally, on 25th and 26th October, the Blind Wine Tasting will test your senses to new heights. Explore a range of flavours and scents as hidden bottles are served. Guests will be guided thorough eight unique wines, including from the Blanc blend to Pinot Noir, in a multi-sensory trail. Accompanying the wine exploration will be a delicious four-course meal.

  • Humble Grape is located at 2 Battersea Rise, Battersea, SW11 1ED (Nearest station: Clapham Junction) and 1 St. Bride’s Passage, City of London, EC4Y 8EJ (Nearest station: City Thameslink or Blackfriars). Tickets from the Wine Dinners range from £50-£100pp. For more information, visit the Humble Grape website

For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.

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Life is rosé! Raise a glass at London’s first ever Rosé bar

Rose Afternoon Tea @ The Bingham

Rose Afternoon Tea @ The Bingham

The capital has seen a variety of themed pop-up bars over the years, with gin and rum especially well represented. So it’s high time London provided a dedicated drinking environment for fans of rosé wine.

Opening this summer is the capital’s first ever Rosé Bar. Richmond’s riverside restaurant, bar and boutique hotel The Bingham will be launching a pop-up celebrating the pink vino. The Rosé Bar will take over the Georgian hotel’s lounge bar, terrace and private rose garden so guests can soak up the stunning views of the garden against the backdrop of Thames. The wild garden theme will continue inside, with roses a design feature of the bar.

On the menu will be a range of rose-infused cocktails, including Rose Aperol, the Rose Mule and the Rose Fantasia. Of if you’re more traditional, there will be rosé champagne and wine, including French and Portuguese varieties. The bar will include a choice of 15 different rosé champagnes for those who prefer their bubbly pink.

The Bingham will also be offering a special rosé slant on their Afternoon Tea. The menu will include homemade rose cream éclairs, rose and pistachio cake and a white chocolate mousse, pomegranate and sugared rose petals.

  • The Rose Bar is open from 1 July – 31 August 2016. The Bingham, 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey, TW10 6UT. Nearest station: Richmond. The Rose Afternoon Tea is available Mon-Sat 3.30-5.30pm and Sun 4-7pm. £25pp or £38pp including a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé. For more information, visit The Bingham website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

For Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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The joy of vino! London Wine Week returns to the capital for 2016

© London Wine Week

Soak up the atmosphere and swill some vino at the London Wine Week hub in Devonshire Square

Vino lovers rejoice, London Wine Week is back. This week – and Bank Holiday Weekend – (23-29 May 2016), the annual celebration of the mighty grape and all its flavours returns to the capital for the third year running. Throughout the week, over 125 venues will be taking part, offering tastings, tours, parties, masterclasses and other wine-related fun. The boozy festival is from the same team behind London Cocktail Week and London Beer Week.

The main festival hub will be the historic Devonshire Square in the heart of the City. Participants can pick up their special wristbands before sampling the drinkable delights from the various pop-ups. The Square will also host the new LWW Banquets, a series of wine-tasting meals in conjunction with the  Disappearing Dining Club.

Your wristband, which costs just £10, means you can join in the special LWW events and try wine flights for just £5 across the venues. Among the highlights is the self-guided wine tasting tour, where you can sample new grapes, varieties and vintages as you hop between bars and restaurants.

In the relaxing surroundings of Devonshire Square, there will be a range of bars and pop-ups, including English sparkling wines on the terrace, the Wines of Portugal Discovery Bar, Vins de Provence Le Beach Bar and the DrinkUp.London Vermouth Bar. The Disappearing Dining Club will be hosting five banquets made to match different wines at the Devonshire Square suite.

Not far away from Devonshire Square, the fun will continue at the rooftop BBQ at the Queen of Hoxton, Franciacorta’s pop-up bar at Andaz Liverpool Street or Aldi’s wine-tasting bar at Boxpark Shoreditch.

  • London Wine Week 2016 takes place from 23 – 29 May at venues across London. Buy a £10 wristband so you can take part in £5 wine taster flights, discounts and deals. The main LWW hub is in Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the London Wine Week website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this week, click here.

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Celebrate World Malbec Day 2015 with the best of Argentina at M Restaurants

Malbec M Restaurants

Crush grapes beneath your feet at the Malbec M Restaurants’ outdoor terrace

With Malbec World Day coming up on April 17, the City’s hot new culinary destination M Restaurants will be celebrating the event in style. The complex, which includes two restaurants and a cocktail bar, is launching its new outdoor terrace featuring a Malbec vineyard and grape-crushing pool. With the weather warming up, the outdoor area is expected to become a big draw over the spring and summer, with views of the Bank of England.

From the 13 April, M will be hosting Malbec Week featuring a special Argentine menu and wine tastings from the Enomatic machines with head sommelier Zack Charilaou. There will also be screenings of Argentine movies. Diners will be able to sample top Argentine produce and visit the Malbec vineyard and crush some grapes barefoot.

As seasoned red wine connoisseurs may know, Malbec has become one of the popular grapes in recent years. Although the grape originated in France, it has particularly thrived in Argentina and become an ingredient in many of the country’s red wines.

M, from former Gaucho MD Martin Williams, opened in November 2014 and has made waves as the first restaurant in Europe to serve Kobe Beef. The complex comprises the M Grill steak restaurant, M Raw eaterie (which serves raw food), cocktail bar and wine-tasting room. M recently hosted the world’s first drinkable art and is set to host an election-themed cocktails in the run up to the General Election.

  • M, 2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2 8HP. Nearest station: Bank or Liverpool Street. Malbec Week at M runs from 13-18 April 2015. For more information and booking, visit the M restaurants website.

For Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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Discover the world of wine – tasting, history and techniques – at Vinopolis

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Armed with your card charged with tokens, so you can sample different wines with ease

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Did you know champagne was invented in England?

London is the city where you can literally do most things. Now, of course there aren’t any vineyards with rolling hills around, but those wanting to taste and discover the world of wine then look no further than Vinopolis on the south bank of Thames.

After years of having it on my wishlist and walking past it countless times, I finally paid a visit to Vinopolis this month with a cousin visiting from Scotland. Arriving for a lunchtime slot, we were able to put our coats and bags away in the free cloakroom so your hands were available for holding wine glasses. We had booked the Essential Wine Experience, which comes with 7 tokens worth of tastings for £27. The price goes up the more tokens you get, depending on whether you’ve got a taste for more expensive wines or a larger quantity of wine! The tickets are scheduled in time slots because you are given a short tour and introduction to wine before you begin your self-guided tasting experience.

Before we were able to sample the drinks, we were given a 15 minute ‘How to Taste’ lesson, where you learn how to sniff, swirl and slurp with a glass of white wine. We were given great advice, such as what types of wines can keep for long or what to drink sooner and how to tell if a wine has passed its prime. There was a little bit of science involved as we learned what parts of different wines tasted like on different parts of the tongue. Following the talk, we headed into the main Vinopolis experience – a series of Victorian railway arches featuring eight tasting and educational zones. In the middle was a Tapas Bar serving food, should you need something to soak up the alcohol or accompany your drinks. Our informative guide showed us how the tasting experience worked, giving a demonstration on how to use the very easy card method to obtain the measures before we were free to start our taste experience.

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Which zone are you? Vinopolis is split into different tasting and discovery zones underneath Victorian railway arches

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Sample your way around the world’s wines, 125ml at a time

The wines had been grouped into different types of zones and flavours, such as the white wine or champagne zone. You keep hold of the same glass, with water filters and sinks dotted around to rinse your glass in-between samples and refresh your palate. Although I’m a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc and bubbly, I went off my usual tastes and used the experience to sample other wines. Vinopolis guides are also on hand should you have any questions, with one able to recommend a type of red to me (someone who doesn’t normally drink it…) and I actually liked it. The various wine samples start from 1 token upwards, reflecting the quality and market value. I tried a variety, including Canard-Duchene Cuvee Leonie Brut champagne (2 tokens), Hugels Et Fils Pinot Noir (1 token) and Jean Luc Colombo Le Vent (1 token), among others. As well as handy fact boxes dotted around the experience to expand your knowledge, there were also interactive tables to help you find the right wine for you.

As well as the main wine tasting experience, Vinopolis also holds various events and drinking experiences throughout the year, including cocktail masterclasses, so there’s a lot more than just wine. There is also a spirits area where you can try Absinthe if you’re up to it! I think Vinopolis would make a great daytime activity for a hen or stag party. Overall, we had a great couple of hours in Vinopolis. There’s not many social events where you can combine drinking and learning! Admittedly, my cousin and I did end up a bit tipsy as we left, but felt much more knowledgeable when it comes to making our wine selections at a restaurant in future.

  • Vinopolis, 1 Bank End, Southwark, SE1 9BU. Nearest tube/overland: London Bridge. Opening times: Wed: 6-9.30pm, Thurs and Fri: 2-10pm, Sat: 12-9.30m, Sunday: 12-6pm. Vinopolis is closing permanently on 31 December 2015, so pay a visit before then. For more information, visit the Vinopolis website.

Why not pay a visit to Vinopolis after lining your stomach with food from Borough Market. Click here for Metro Girl’s blog on the market.

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Hix comes to Clerkenwell Design Week 2014 with a foodies and wine lovers’ extravaganza

© The Collection Clerkenwell

Roast Glenarm Estate Sirloin Steak with Bobby Beans served with Petit Mars Comme d’Habitude 2012
© The Collection Clerkenwell

Celebrated chef Mark Hix’s various London restaurants have become some of the hottest places to dine in the capital since he launched his first establishment, Hix Oyster & Chop House in Smithfield in 2008. His various venues offer a wide choice of gastro delights for foodies, complemented by an extensive selection of fine wine.

With Clerkenwell Design Week kicking off this month (20-22 May 2014), Hix has teamed up wine cellar curators The Perfect Cellar to create a special culinary and wine experience at The Clerkenwell Collection, just a stone’s throw from his Smithfield eaterie.

Each tasting session features three dishes created by Hix served alongside a select wine to complement the flavours. As well as the chance to sample the delicious dishes, there will also be tasting notes and discussion. Example dishes include Wye Valley Asparagus with Chervil Mayonnaise, De Beauvoir Smoked Salmon ‘Hix cure’ with Corrigan’s Soda Bread, Roast Glenarm Estate Sirloin Steak with Bobby Beans and Julian Temperley’s Cider Brandy and Venezuelan Black Truffles.

Each session costs just £15 and lasts 45 minutes. All those who participate will also receive a 25% discount voucher (valid until the end of May 2014) off their food bill at Hix Oyster & Chop House. Sessions take place daily during Clerkenwell Design Week, at 12pm, 2pm, 3.30pm and 5pm.

  • The pairings are only available during Clerkenwell Design Week (20-22 May 2014) at The Clerkenwell Collection, 155 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AD. Nearest station: Farringdon. Bookings must be done in advance. For more information and bookings, visit The Collection website.

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