Restaurants that can do brilliant food and eclectic wine lists, but keeping it casual at the same time, deserve a special shout out (or maybe should be selfishly kept on the down-low). Noble Rot fits in this special niche. If you have many suitors it’s the one place you should insist to go on a date to.
From the atmosphere to the wine and the food, Noble Rot immediately feels cosy. The dark wood panelling and dim lighting in the bar area and the dining room create the best setting to indulge in a (very) long meal. Their wine list is clearly the work of wine geeks. I was even more pleased to see it included a Santorini one. The staff is very friendly and will take the time to explain what’s on offer and how it would pair with the food; I really appreciated that given I can become indecisive in the sight of too much goodness. As for the food, I knew Noble Rot would be a winner the moment the bread basket was placed in the middle of our table. My friends and I had to negotiate for the last bits of the buttery focaccia, sourdough and soda bread, which came with a generous knob of seaweed butter.
For lunch (which eventually turned into early dinner) I decided to go with their 2 courses for 16 pounds; a bargain for central London. My starter was a guinea fowl Caesar salad. Light on the dressing, I really enjoyed how the guinea fowl gave a stronger but more refined complement to the lettuce and crunchy sourdough croutons. My main course was a perfectly-cooked whole dab in butter sauce with fried cabbage and potato. My two friends decided to order a la carte. They shared spring leaf salad (I should have asked what the dressing was made with, because it elevated an otherwise simple salad) and the leeks vinaigrette and Brixham Crab. The combination of leeks with the crab meat was so creamy; I’ll have to have this one again next time I go to Noble Rot. But the dish of the day was the smoked butter slip sole. Light and slightly spicy, I was about to snatch the dish from my friend to spoon every drop of the sauce. The joy of lunching with foodies is that they would never say no to dessert. We shared the chocolate Saint-Émilion and the verbena panna cotta with fresh strawberries; a refined end to our decadent meal. On the wine front, our waiter recommended a light Bordeaux red to accompany our meal. It actually worked well with the fish and convinced me to take a wine class in the future.
As we left Noble Rot a bit tipsy but very content, I thought to myself: Noble Rot provides an additional incentive to move to London (you too, Jamie, but I’m warning you that you’ll have to take me there once a week on a date!). P.S: In addition to serving good wine and food, the Noble Rot team also publishes a magazine which according to its description “joins the dots between wine, music and food from a fresh perspective”. My favourite kind of read.