Wine doesn’t always get much of a look in on Matt The List, but I’ve tried to even it up a bit in recent weeks with a boozy dinner at Carousel, more than one trip to Mercato Metropolitano’s Enoteca, and now a marvellous evening at P.Franco in Clapton. It’s a charming wine bar in a tight space from the owners of Noble Fine Liquor in Broadway Market, complete with a ludicrous “kitchen” (a sink and a hob) at the end of the sole central table that’s somehow turning out some fantastic small plates. There are no reservations, but you are encouraged to hover round the edge with a drink until a seat becomes available. Matt on the floor made us feel very welcome, clearing shelf space for our glasses and bribing us with divine bread and Mt.Etna oil.
Despite Jancis Robinson’s best efforts, I’m still very much a wine novice but I’m knocking on the right doors. After my vague demands for something “red, light and “farmy”, they got me started with a juicy glass of Patrick Sullivan’s New World Wine – a dangerously drinkable Australian pinot noir / malbec blend. By the end of the evening, farmy had become natural and rustic, and I traded light for full-bodied, culminating in a glorious glass of Baptiste Cousin’s Ouech’ Cousin made from 100% grolleau grapes from the Loire Valley. There was never a price tag in sight for the vino, but the final bill was much lower than we were expecting with most glasses around £5-6. I must briefly mention the food again too – the lardo and mushroom toast (soaked in butter / oil / crack) was out of this world and a steal at £5 for two portions in one, and fallow deer tartare with hazelnut and plums was a harmonious blend of flavours. Glorious stuff across the board and magnificent service from start to finish – P.Franco is a real winner.
P.Franco – pfranco.co.uk