What can you tell us about Sibarita?
It's the latest from Victor Garvey, who is the man behind tapas joint Encant, which is only a few doors along on the same road as Sibarita.
And it's a wine bar?
It is primarily, which gives us great joy as we really think wine bars are something London could happily do with more of. But while wine is a big thing, so is the food.
There's a strong focus on the cheese and meat platters. But there's more to it than that - with some fine small plates too.
Where is it?
In Covent Garden, about two minutes walk away from the piazza. Either Charing Cross or Covent Garden station are your closest stops.
Can you book?
You can! Which is very handy for such a small place. But they will always keep a few spots back for walk-ins.
What's it like inside?
It's a place of two halves. The left is for perching around wine barrels - perfect for dropping by for a snack and a
glass/bottle. The right hand side of the room is a more traditional table layout (that can be merged together for larger groups). And, as the restaurant abuts an alleyway, one side features huge windows making the whole place larger looking and airier than somewhere this size would normally feel.
So, how about that cheese and charcuterie?
First up, cheese. There are four varieties - Garoxa, Idiazabal, Murcia al vino, Valdeon "picos Azul". You can order three of those for £9 and each comes with an accompaniment (quince jelly etc). And, praise be, they also come with Hedone bread - which is commonly held to be one of London's best breadmakers. So yes, order this platter while perusing the rest of the menu.
As for the charcuterie - which also comes with the Hedone bread - that ranges from £9 (Sobrassada) to Belotta gran reserva (£17). We opted for the cured iberico pork belly which came in a very generous portion. Again - a good one to order while you're mulling over which of the small plates to go for.
And those small plates?
At this point we'll repeat our usual mantra about small plates - only order what you're ready to eat in one go. So stagger your ordering throughout the night and it'll all work perfectly.
Before you start anything - the ones to head for immediately are clearly the "Daily Croquettes". Yes - they have special croquettes each day which could be spinach, classic ham & cheese or the award-winning aubergine & goat’s cheese from Encant. We had the spinach and, as croquette experts, thought they were excellent.
Other winners were:
- Make a detour by the specials menu. There are just a couple on, but if they're anywhere as good as our Cocas de Atun (Sashimi grade tuna, Grilled flatbread, avocado and alegria pepper alioli) then you're in for a treat.
- Chicken "Chilindron" - crispy marinated chicken breast, mixed pepper and Serrano ham salpicon. We nearly came to blows over who could have more of this particular dish.
- And save space for dessert - you'll want the torrija, of course. That's caramelised brioche pudding, passion fruit and vanilla sorbet.
How about drink?
Obviously, wine is the main attraction here and, as it's a Spanish bar, you'll want to start out with some cava. There are eight varieties on offer from £45 - £102 so it's maybe a little punchier than your usual Cava - but their Raventos I Blanc de blancs hit the spot.
Otherwise, wines start at £4.50 a 125ml glass or £17 a bottle - with a Sueno Noche Viura/Sauvignon Blanc kicking the list off and nine bottles below £30. And if you're REALLY splashing out, things move up towards a 2006 L'Emrita Priorat at £542 a bottle.
Special points for the lovely range of glasses - particularly the cava glasses, which we wanted to steal. But didn't, of course.
We love a good wine bar, and for some reason, Covent Garden is particularly well endowed with them. Sibarita mixes decent, affordable bottles with a lovely looking room and some very fine small plates. Well worth heading there for your next wine and cheese fix.
Hot Dinners were invited to Sibarita. Prices are correct at the time of writing.
Where: 7 Maiden Lane, London WC2E 7NA
How to book: On their website.