Having walked past the 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen several times and mused over whether anyone below the age of 28 would be excluded, I finally stepped into the Maddox Street restaurant. Thankfully I wasn’t politely shuffled back out the door and it transpired that its numerical name refers to the latitudinal lines within which the wines on offer are selected from (or something like that..). It was a Saturday afternoon when were seated by the window to enjoy the first peek of spring sunlight.
With its plush bar stools, marble tabletops and expensive glassware, 28-50 had a champagne-chic feel to it. It was reminiscent of a bar you’d find in the City, so it wasn’t surprising to discover 28-50 have a Fetter Lane venue too. With coats checked, we were offered champagne to start, as the server talked us through the menu. A rich menu with foie gras and scallops on the starters, native lobster and pork jowl make up the mains. Thai chicken salad and a cheese burger conspicuously make the “modern European” cut as well. We reasoned later that the wine pairings had as much of an impact on the menu as the availability of seasonal ingredients. An Icelandic subsection of the menu hearkens back to owner and Michelin-starred chef Agnar Sverisson’s nordic roots. These dishes, including fish pie and lamb shoulder, give an authentic Icelandic inflection to two hearty British favourites.
On deciding our dishes, my bartender pal was surprised we weren’t presented with a wine list. The sommelier sauntered over after our plates were served and described the wine most suited for the dish. The chat was informal and non-intimidating, which pleased us. It’s refreshing to have a sommelier who imparts their knowledge but doesn’t make you feel like you should have just ordered the house and kept quiet. Paired with a dry French muscadet, the Loire white gave ample fruitiness and zest to the juicy grilled prawns and wasabi scallops. Next the tuna steak was served with a light pinot noir to complement its meaty medium-rare taste. Plated up with olive oil mash, saffron capers and black olives, the flavour combination felt experimental and still has me wondering whether the exemplary ingredients actually worked together. We rounded off the meal another French wine, this time a sweet peachy Pacherenc Du Vic Bilh. It’s sure to say we 28-50 delivered a wine-tasting and learning experience we didn’t expect to receive at a casual lunch, but appreciated very much.
Perhaps you wouldn’t dream of taking your children to a champagne-wine bar, but 28-50 is most welcoming to families throughout the day, Monday-Saturday. The ‘kids eat free, adults get 20% off food’ Saturday deal was enough for us to trot down before the evening rush. The children’s menu offers healthy choices of pumpkin soup, chicken salad, tomato pasta, as well as all-round burger and fish & chip favourites. For a chilled family lunch, away from the bustle of kid-friendly chains, 28-50 offers a fine wining and dining experience for adults alongside accommodating options for when you have the children in tow.
28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, 17-19 Maddox St, London W1S 2QH