222 & 224a Shaftesbury Avenue London WC2H 8EB
Tel: 020 7240 0686

I seem to have an aversion to dining at restaurants around major museums. It cannot be that hard to devise a lucrative ‘special 2 course meal’ for the tourist in search of a ‘good’ (cheap, low quality) deal. I would like to think that true foodies such as us could never be blinded by such flagrant attempts to entrap.

When a recent early evening visit to the British Museum left me positively famished, alarm bells started ringing as it dawned on me that I was in Tourist Territory. Knowing that wandering around in an aimless attempt to find ‘The One’ would only fuel the panic, I head in the direction of Covent Garden hoping to find somewhere decent to eat en route. I strike lucky on Grape Street, where I find the – wait for it – Grape Street Wine Bar. Don’t be fooled by its rather uncreative name, for the food, service and ambience will ward off those doubts. There are two entrances. The one on the corner leads down into a large basement restaurant and bar area that can also be booked for functions. A few steps further along will take you to the small but perfectly formed and instantly appealing restaurant on the street level.

Apart from the noise emanating from the private party in the basement, the Grape Street Wine Bar ticked all the right boxes for me. Alright so this may have been sheer relief of not having to succumb to lure of the ‘special 2 course meal’ eateries. The Grape Street Wine Bar offers GM free food with a menu that is often refreshed. It offers culturally diverse fusions such as the Pork & apple sausages with a calvados sauce and colcannon or a Grilled Tiger prawn & rocket risotto. A regular feature for the carnivorous is the classic burger or the rib eye steak in Cabernet Sauvignon and herb butter. I chose the indulgent grilled venison steak in a delicious redcurrant and port jus from one of the specials displayed on the blackboard. Though too full for dessert, I went ahead and ordered the cheese. I was overjoyed to learn that I was able to make my own choice from a selection, which included the likes of Pont L’Evêque as well as the more familiar types. These are the small details that make all the difference. The corks on display were a reminder that this was indeed a wine bar. There was a good selection of wine by the glass so I chose to swoon over a glass of the Head over Heels, Pinot Noir. Delicious.

The service here Grape Street Wine Bar has a distinctly accommodating and personal touch despite the busy evening downstairs. This is a good choice for both its food and cosy ambience but be sure to opt for a table on the ground level for the more intimate evening out.