Jukebox.jpgToday, I had lunch at Texture, the new London restaurant set up by Le Manoir graduates and current Caterer and Hotelkeeper cover stars, Agnar Sverrisson and Xavier Rousset.
There’s quite a buzz around Texture, and it’s easy to see why. Under the beautiful mouldings of its high ceilings, I enjoyed a spectacular meal. Sure, there were enough confits, emulsions, cracklings and wafers to justify the restaurant’s name. But what impressed me most was the clarity and intensity of flavours. My first dish, Tomato and Artichoke Textures, grabbed me by the lapels and transported me back to summer evenings spent watering the tomato plants in my mum’s greenhouse. And, if the sensation of being on a fishing boat on the South China Sea, brine on your lips and sea wind in your face, could be captured and served on a plate, it would probably taste something like Texture’s Mediterranean tuna smoked with Asian flavours.
Lunch done, I popped into nearby Selfridges to see my friend, the store’s food and restaurants director, Ewan Venters, and to check out his new Wonder Bar. The Wonder Bar is based around a wine tasting dispenser that allows customers to choose from 52 fine wines in three measures: 25ml, 75ml and 125ml.This ‘wine jukebox’ means you can sample wines you might not have come across before (some 25ml nips cost less than a pound), or which you might not be able to afford by the bottle (top of the list is a 1996 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Premier Grand Cru, which markets at £70 for 125ml).
To use it, you buy a credit card that can be loaded up to a value of £1000, and which can be topped up. Then you insert the card into the juke box, choose a wine from the wine list, and press the button corresponding to the measure you require.
I whacked £10 on my card, opted for a warming 175ml measure of 1998 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Marques de Murrieta Rioja, and still had 20p credit left for another day.
The Wonder Bar is a brilliant idea that empowers customers to drink however much they want of whatever wine they want. What a pity then, that Trading Standards Officers have tried to spoil the party by raising concerns that the dispenser contravenes UK alcohol measures legislation.