If you’re feeling like a nice glass of French wine and smashing little sharing plates, you’ll want to make your way to the nearest cave à manger. Here’s a round of London’s top wine bars with a French twist.
Founded by Guillaume Siard, Antidote is one of the earliest naturophile wine bars and shops in London. Well-known for their extensive and passionate wine list, they showcase small French producers, along with some gems from around the organic and biodynamic world.
Very cool for a laid-back apéro with a plate of coppa, a slice of terrine, some boquerones and a couple of glasses surrounded by wine cases or on the terrace.
Antidote Wine Bar
12A Newburgh Street
London W1F 7RR
Their name has been on all lips since they became wine delivery heroes during lockdown, turning into Shop Cuvée, with now their own brick-and-mortar spot around the corner. But don’t underestimate the original Top Cuvée and their menu, it is a restaurant after all!
The warm tangerine walls and exposed bricks with bright illustrations make for a bubbling and no-fuss fun temple of ‘natural food and seasonal wine’ as they like to put it: perfect spot for a pâté en croûte, some small plates to share and their rétro-gourmet crème caramel to satisfy your sweet tooth.
177B Blackstock Road
London N5 2LL
Lyon native Margaux Aubry and head chef Joe Sharratt have been putting the neighbourhood on a natural wine diet since 2015. With over 250 references listed, you’re guaranteed to have a crush on one of the juices. Since this summer, they’ve made the bold move to eradicate paper wine lists. Their goal? To reinstate a proper chat between the guests and front-of-house, to make you discover the little gems you wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
That’s for the cave side of things. But don’t miss out on what’s à manger: crispy ham croquettes are a classic, and their sharing plates are definitely worth a taste — look out for the fresh Devon crab, peanut, pickled cabbage and yuzu.
28 Brixton Water Lane
London SW2 1PE
Tues-Sat 12-2.30pm and 6-9.30pm
Brought to London Fields by the explosive team behind Noble Fine Liquor, P.Franco and Peg, Bright quickly became an institution thanks to a brilliant, ever-evolving natural wine selection and a dazzling Med menu by chef duo William Gleave and Giuseppe Belvedere (deep fried lasagna! scarlet grilled prawns!).
Sit at the bar and let them pour you a glass of something nice, whilst you nibble on salted almonds, Jésus du Pays Basque and a plate of spaghetti with bottarga and lemon.
1 Westgate Street,
London E8 3RL
Terroirs East Dulwich
‘Life is too short to drink bad wine’ is the kind of motto we like to read. This open secret is an everyday local haunt, from drinks with friends perched around a barrel outside to a date night with a dusted-off rustic French touch.
Their love for all terroir-centric produce is contagious, whether through their natural bottles or through the seasonal menu striding along with — you’ll want to taste the onion tart, the duck breast with cherries and lemon or the meringue and blackberry mousse.
Good to know: Terroirs doubles up as a small market, offering quality groceries and takeaway food on top of their wine store. Shop local!
Terroirs East Dulwich
36-38 Lordship Lane,
London SE22 8HJ
Mon-Thurs 9am-9.30pm, Fri 9am-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-4pm
Market: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm