26 April 2007
Green and Blue
38 Lordship Lane
East Dulwich, SE22 8HJ
Tel: 020 8693 9250
IF UPMARKET wine shop, and now burgeoning bar/restaurant, Green and Blue in East Dulwich had a mission statement, it might be this: owners Kate Thal and Jude Liddle "basically want the whole world to be drinking good wine," suggests assistant manager Clare Tully, writes Chris Mullany...
"Theywant to inspire people." So they certainly can't be accused of lacking ambition. The husband and wife team set up in Lordship Lane back in June 2005, with the shop and a small wine bar at the back. When the Weekender visited last week, it was to an expanded and newly designed outfit – behind the distinctive bright green frontage now lies the shop, with deli counter, a back section for wine tasting classes, and a whole separate section for eating and, of course, wine tasting, with room for up to 54 lovers of the grape.
Surprisingly busy for a Monday night, the venue is acquiring a reputation for quality wines at affordable prices, but without pretentiousness. Kate, a sommelier for some ten years, then a wine buyer and still a wine consultant, selects small production wines, which you might find on a menu, rather than an off licence.
The selections of wine by the glass change each week, while the bottles, predominantly old world wines, are available for as little as £5, with 60 per cent selling for between £5 and £10.
In the spirit of European unity we tasted our way through France, Italy and Spain, enjoying a 2005 Domaine Ostertag Sylvaner from Alsace – a delicious summery wine grown biodynamically, with strictly controlled yields (Retail: £10.00 a bottle, Bar: £18.00); an Italian Amano Rose (Retail: £8.50, Bar: £16.95) and over dinner moved on to a spicey Spanish Bodegas Castano Monastrell (Retail: £7.25, Bar: £14.50), (along with an elegant 100 per cent chardonnay Champagne that would be the perfect finishing touch to a summer picnic (NV Lamandier-Bernier, 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne). The excellent assistant manager, who was a mine of information, then surprised us with an Emilio Lustau Old East India Sherry, stumbled upon when Spanish sailors arrived in the East Indies to find their barrels of sweet wine, used as ballast, had been baked and buffeted into a delicious mix of flavours – toffee, nuts and burnt sugar – unlike the mass produced sherries that Clare suggested were "like alcopops for the older generation". Retailing at £13.50 a bottle, you should give certainly give it a try.
Green and Blue (the colours of grapes – no, we didn't make the connection either), serves up a range of simple, tasty dishes, such as wild mushroom pie and salad, with Spanish hams and Neals Yard cheeses and the menu will be expanding. In a nice touch, if you want to bring your own food, you can for just £3 a head. The inverse of corkage, they have dubbed it 'chippage', (or chippaaage for some East Dulwichers), as they are directly opposite the Sea Cow fish and chip restaurant. They have also installed a water filter, that allows you to drink sparkling water with your wine for just £1 a bottle.
If, like the reviewers, your knowledge of wine is limited, but you want to find out more, then this is the perfect place for you to try your hand. The staff are helpful and knowledgeable – all of them have undergone Kate's twelve week 'school of wine' (available for £300) and their enthusiasm is infectious. Already the couple are considering opening up in other sites around London and they deserve the success – independent in the true spirit of Lordship Lane, this is a fun, relaxed place where you can enjoy fine wines and enjoy the learning experience. We'll definitely be going back.
FOOD (1-5) 4
AMBIENCE (1-5) 4
PRICE VALUE (1-5) 4
DISABLED ACCESS YES
DISABLED TOILET YES
PRE-BOOKING ON WEEKENDS
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