Anywhere that serves coffee all day, doubles as a wine bar and offers black truffle crisps as a serious food proposition has my attention immediately. The Cellar’s first venture opened to acclaim in The Cotswolds. Now they’ve opened a new branch in King’s Cross, expanding from the provinces into the capital rather than the other way round.
The King’s Cross branch is a fairly compact affair at the lower end of Pentonville Road. Despite the potential for footfall, it was slightly worrying to see it so quiet on this visit. Perhaps the lighting could be more inviting: for a bar vibe, candles and soft illumination are the way forward.
But those walking past are missing a trick. I experienced nothing but excellent and knowledgeable service here by a chap who seemed to be running FOH and all food prep completely by himself. The food offering (other than the crisps and assorted nuts and olives) is divided into two main sections: “Curds” with four different British cheeses and “Cures” for your charcuterie needs. Throwing all caution to the wind, I had a platter of both comprising Baron Bigod and Lincolnshire Poacher and a selection of Cotswolds cold meats. As advised by the multi-tasking duty manager, onion chutney is a must with each mouthful of Baron Bigod. It is indeed a marriage made in heaven.
And to wash that all down, there’s a concise list of fairly off-radar, low-intervention wines – both in classic style and skin-contact form. Asking for something aperitif-like to get the juices flowing, I tried a glass of Lemoss Frizzante Non Filtrato. Whilst technically a Prosecco (ugh), it’s made by the Champagne method (yay!). That seems a contradiction in terms but it had a mineral freshness without the butteriness of Champagne, like an apple crumble without the crumble. To follow, a hefty glass of Tempranillo Gran Cerdo – literally meaning “fat pig” in Spanish, apparently this is the winemaker’s swipe at bankers. This was peppery but silky and supple, with character belying its young age. A bit like The Cellar really.
There’s a huge amount of potential here and I can’t wait to return for my next cheese and wine fix. If only more customers would pop in and experience this for themselves.
258 Pentonville Road
by J A Smith