DB’s Phoebe French heads to Bottles & Battles in Italian grocery store Mercato Metropolitano for a quirky, skin-touch white from Hungary, a splendidly fragrant Amarone, and fresh pappardelle with sausage ragu.

The concept: Bottles & Battles, based in London food market Mercato Metropolitano, became installed in 2016 by Italian food and wine aficionados Franco Mancini and Daniele Marano. With its coronary heart firmly in Italy, the ingesting den gives an array of bottles from different regions and a smattering of alternatives from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand.

Housed in a side room of one of the essential ingesting halls, Bottles & Battles boasts an impressive through-the-glass listing beginning, with costs starting from £five.50, consisting of some from the Coravin. The list is divided into sections by way of place (northern, primary, and southern Italy), with other Old World and New World expressions thrown in for excellent measure. The recognition here is on developing an at ease, informal environment wherein to enjoy and analyze greater approximately the inexhaustible variety of local Italian grapes.


The wine sits alongside a properly-priced variety of Italian bites, from nibbles proper the manner through to a hearty red meat stew. Bottles & Battles is an area you can pop into for a small plate and a pitcher of white, or somewhere to at the same time as away the hours in the evening with a bottle of wine and a terrific meal.

Celebrating its 1/3 year in a commercial enterprise, Mercato Metropolitano occupies a big forty-five,000sqft web site in what becomes a disused paper factory. In between Borough and Elephant & Castle, it was intended to awaken the great food halls in Milan and Turin – certainly, its founder, Andrea Rasca, was concerned in the Italian market concept Eataly, which has websites in Chicago, New York, Bologna, Stockholm, and Munich.

The décor: While the interior of Bottles & Battles is calm and accumulated, the outdoors is something but. Housed in facet room off one of the massive marketplace halls, coming near the venue are a sensory assault, the eye interested in big charcuterie presentations, timber-fired, pleasantly-charred pizzas, and a counter bursting with different flavors of gelato. Confusingly, every outlet has identical black billboard-style symptoms, listing the form of meals or drink being served, as opposed to the call of the business running the stand. There’s no ‘Bottles & Battles’ brand at the out of doors, but as a substitute white neon sign, one studying ‘wine bar,’ the alternative ‘enoteca.’

Once you’ve located the region, the whole lot is far more honest. On one side, the bar is coated with a bottle show, the shelves built using wooden wine bins. In the center stands a protracted relevant desk with swivel stools adorned with faux-fur throws, with a couple of sofas surrounding a decrease desk at them again. On the opposite side is a tiny hatch via the kitchen with business-sublime caged lightning striking from the ceiling, emitting a comfy winter glow.

The drinks: With 11 whites, thirteen reds, 2 rosés, and a couple of sparkling wines available at the glass, there are masses to pick from in case you’re unwilling to splash out on a bottle. The bottles are steeply priced – starting from £25 to £120; this listing is very reasonably priced. Highlights protected Huba Szeremley’s Badacsony Kéknyelű – Kéknyelű being the grape variety – a quirky skin-contact white, and at 13 years old, a snip at £10 a pitcher.

For something barely extra mainstream, strive the Tenuta Terre Nobili’s Greco di Calabria ‘Santa Chiara’ 2016, a crisp, sparkling white with grapefruit and orange blossom flavors for £eight a tumbler. In the purple branch, Antolini’s Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2016, a mix of Corvina, Corvionone, and Rondinella, hit the spot, presenting notes of black cherry, plum jam, and cloves. Signature sips: At the pinnacle of the byway of-the-glass list, there’s a ‘sommelier’s choice’ sip, presently Eugenio Rosi’s Marzemino ‘Poiema,’ a biodynamic wine made with a hundred% Marzemino the usage of 30% raisined grapes, with flavors of “ripe cherry, raspberry, almond, and cigar smoke.”

Stand-outs from my ride blanketed Zampaglione Fiano Campania ‘Don Chisciotte’ to be had for £eleven a pitcher from the Coravin choice. Another pore and skin-touch white had more stone fruit flavors than the Hungarian Kéknyelű (which extra resembled Riesling) with white peach and hay flavors. Also worth an attempt is Terre di Gnirega’s Amarone Della Valpolicella, £17 a pitcher through Coravin. While barely on the steep aspect, it’s well worth it for the aroma on my own, a complex mix of fruitcake, tobacco, dried rose petals, and figs.

The meals: While to a few wine bars, meals are an after-idea, at Bottles & Battles, it’s simply well worth ordering a plate. From bowls of sweet and briny Nocellara olives to extra widespread plates of clean pasta, the food is easy and well-flavored, with nibbles starting at £three.50, pasta at £nine.50, and the most high-priced hot dish, Robata BBQ onglet steak with vegetables coming in at £12.50. An spectacular array of cheese and charcuterie is likewise available, priced at £15 for a sharing platter for 2 human beings to £65 for 6 to 10 people.

Highlights from my visit included the pappardelle with sausage ragu with a liberal crumbling of pungent Parmesan over the top, and the burrata with caramelized pears and bread, the cream from the cheese combining with the candy pear juices to form a moreish puddle whereinto dip crusty slices of bread. Don’t depart without trying the liqueurs. We have served two sips from producers Rossa and Pure Sardinia, served in stylish, tall-stemmed tulip glasses. Choose from Rossa’s blood orange and wild herb or Pure Sardinia’s wild myrtle liqueur.

Last word: If you could negotiate the sizeable cavern that is Mercato Metropolitano, Bottles & Battles is a real find. A 10-15 minute stroll from London Bridge, it’s an accessible place to realize if you’re looking for something off the overwhelmed music. The staff is friendly and knowledgable, offering a welcome guide via a wine listing brimming with unusual grape sorts. The concept is sincerely a success as founders Mancini and Marano opened the 2nd website online in Spitalfields Market closing yr, referred to as Bottles. For the ones looking for a laid-again environment, exciting wines, and who don’t thoughts sharing a desk, Bottle & Battles is a secure guess.

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