Unveiling the Best Wine Lists of UK Restaurants

By | 6 March 2024

Superstar chef Tomos Parry opened the restaurant last summer after taking over a former Byron Burger site on Beak Street.

Parry is renowned for applying Basque cooking techniques to high-quality British produce, with a particular penchant for flame cooking.

The restaurant, Brat, was opened by him in a former Shoreditch strip club back in 2018, and it was awarded a Michelin star six months later.

In the previous year, the Welsh chef decided to expand his horizons, and Time Out dubbed Mountain as ‘London’s coolest restaurant’ when it was inaugurated.

Sommelier Holly Wilcocks has put together a comprehensive wine list that beautifully complements the unique blend of Basque-Welsh fusion cuisine.

This was officially recognized when Mountain was bestowed with the Best Newcomer List accolade at the esteemed Star Wine List ceremony, held in Farringdon on a recent Monday night. Further, the restaurant secured the Best Long List award, an honor reserved for lists boasting over 600 wines.

Mountain culminated the event with a third win, taking home the Grand Prix award. This award is given to the establishment demonstrating the best overall wine list, rounding off a resounding hat-trick for the venue.

‘The process of assembling the list was thoroughly enjoyable, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see others appreciating our selection. Our focus has always been on sourcing wines from serene locations crafted by individuals who respect their land, soil, and fellow humans. Our tendency leans towards lower intervention wines, but our objective remains the same – to offer clean varieties of wine exquisite to our Soho location’, shared Wilcocks.

Jury member Federico Moccia, who is the head sommelier at 67 Pall Mall in London, praised Wilcocks for her amazing work in composing the wine list. He said it was an impressive mix of quality and variety, featuring both classic and innovative producers. The list also explores new vineyard regions while highlighting the most esteemed ones.

The panel of judges also included respected names such as Heidi Mäkinen MW, Piotr Pietras MS, Julie Dupouy-Young, and Raj Parr.

In discussing her preferred section of Mountain’s wine list, Wilcocks singled out the ‘Down to Earth’ category. She said they aim to promote affordable yet excellent wines priced under £50. She believes that these quality wines can be found with diligent searching and not every exceptional dining experience should cost a fortune.

The Best Medium-Sized List (200-600 bottles) award went to Etch by Steven Edwards, a restaurant located in Brighton. Other nominees in this category included London-based restaurants Blandford Comptoir, Doppo, Ekstedt at the Yard, Leroy, Trivet, and Wild Corner, along with Where The Light Gets In and Climat based in Manchester.

The prestigious Best Short List accolade was bestowed upon Hjem, located in Hexham, Northumberland. “This is a remarkable honour, confirming the value of our work,” expressed Martin Waugh, the restaurant manager and sommelier. He continued, “While London remains the epicentre of UK’s beverage industry, it’s gratifying to witness recognition reaching beyond the metropolis. We count ourselves truly lucky and honoured to have this chance.”

In other categories, Noble Rot Mayfair snagged the Best By the Glass List award, while Les 110 de Taillevent, sited at Cavendish Square in London, was saluted with the Best Sparkling Wine List award.

The award for the best Austrian wine list was clinched by Newcomer Wines in London. The Vineyard at Stockcross in Newbury got lauded for having the best California wine list and The Terrace Rooms & Wine located in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight earned plaudits for having the best New Zealand wine list, as per the awards. The Best Sustainable Wine List award was bagged by Apricity in London.

Dupouy-Young stated, “There’s undoubtedly an abundance of wine havens in the UK, proving to be a paradise for wine aficionados.”

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