Try before you buy

18 Hildreth Street, Balham, London, SW12 9RQ · t:020 8616 8658

18 Hildreth Street

Splash out whilst pinching the pennies!

We're all pinching the pennies! Julia is scouring the world of wine for great value wines adding more and more £8-£13 wines that punch well above their weight. My hubby and I barely go out for a meal anymore when in 'flusher' times we ate out more than we ate in. Partly because I'm learning to love cooking (I'm experimenting with gluten-free so if you have recipes to swap let me know) and partly because the cheapest way to eat is to make it from scratch. I don't know about you, but when I've put hours into a meal it's really important to have a wine that won't disappoint. Our favourites at home are the La Planta Ribero del Duero, Mon Ross Barbera d'Asti and Ego Monastrell in the reds...And The Rude Mechanicals Viognier/Pinot Gris, Lamadoro Bianco Greco and Les Cepages Oublies Gros Manseng/Colombard in the whites. All very reasonably priced and I can more or less guarantee you'll love them (I'll bring you in some homemade gluten-free brownies if you don't!).
But I miss going out! I miss letting someone else cook for me and clean up after me! Which is where the BYO comes in to play! There are amazing restaurants in London where you can get top-notch food and save yourself a bundle by bringing in your own bottle. There's our neighbours The Paddy Field of course but a quick google search is well worth a go. I used to live in Whitechapel so I can't recommend Tayyabs enough - yes it's a ways away but it's SO worth it! Make it a weekend outing and take in Spitalfields market while you're there! I think BYOs are an opportunity to enjoy a wine that you you would never spring for in a restaurant environment because it would be too pricey! We have an astounding Schleret Gewurtzraminer 2007 which would match the spicy food perfectly. Or a New Zealand Sauvignon which would cost you nearly £50 in a restaurant but is only £18 here.
I'm going on about this because I've been humming and hawing over a wine choice for weeks now - big birthday coming up and we're going to Hawksmoor on a monday night when it's £5 corkage! I think I'm pretty good with a steak but nowhere beats Hawksmoor! So I'm thinking Old World - getting traditional in my old age - so maybe the amazing Domaine Jean-Michel Stephane Cote-Rotie or the Domaine Clape Cornas or even the Michel & Stephane Ogier L'Ame Soeur... Or should I go Bordeaux and bling it out with a Chateau Batailley?
All to say it is possible to have a cracking night out without breaking the bank and all the while feeling like you've experienced something really special..
So come in - let us know which restaurant you're going to and we'll put on a French accent (well Emmanuel's is real) and pretend to be a hoity-toity sommelier for you! Then let us know how you got on so that we can recommend the establishment to the rest of the Wine Tasting Shop family!
Happy eating!