The Blacksmith and the ToffeemakerCultureFood & DrinksRestaurant & bar reviews
Located in Clerkenwell, the recently opened pub, The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker, played host this week to a British food and wine tasting evening.
We began proceedings with a sparkling wine (Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2009 (Sussex)), served with West Mercier rock oysters from Essex. There is no doubt that the most famous sparkling wine in the world is champagne; however, it is interesting to note that in the 1600s, the English were already making sparkling wine 30 years before the process was registered by the Frenchman, Dom Pérignon! Sparkling wine and oysters are a classic food and wine pairing combination; the acidic Ridgeview we sampled complemented nicely with the briny taste of the oysters. Unfortunately, when drunk as an aperitif, it failed to excite me with its lack of fizz and effervescence.
We then moved on to tasting the first of two white wines: Mumford’s Medium Dry 2010 (Somerset), made from two grape varieties, French Madeleine Angevine (originally from the Loire Valley and similar to Pinot Blanc) and German Reichensteiner. This was an easy-drinking wine and a perfect match for the accompanying chicken liver parfait – light and fruity but with enough acidity to balance the richness of the parfait.
The second white wine came from the Sharpham Estate in Devon (Dart Valley Reserve 2009) – made again from Madeleine Angevine, but this time in combination with some indigenous English grape varieties, Phoenix and Bachus. In contrast to the Mumford’s Medium Dry, the Dart Valley Reserve was drier and fresher in style and paired with potted salmon. The elderflower notes of the wine and the light fish dish evoked memories of the quintessential English summer.
Whites were followed by a rosé wine – Mumford’s English Rosé (Somerset), which was unusually deep red in colour and by sight only, could easily have been mistaken for a Pinot Noir. The wine was sweet with strong flavours of raspberries. This was served with a homemade Scotch egg, complete with an unctuous runny yolk. Both food and wine were delicious on their own but the pairing divided opinion.
We concluded the tasting with a red wine – Mumford’s English Red, made using an Alsatian grape variety, Triomphe d’Alsace. This was a lighter style red wine, which can be chilled and would suit summer drinking. Despite this, it does have enough body to be paired with red meat and matched quite nicely with the rabbit pie served.
The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker is a quality pub offering the best of British booze (think gins, whiskies and ales) whilst also placing strong emphasis on local sourcing and honest cooking. The Ridgeview Bloomsbury sparkling wine is available on its drinks list and with the pub’s preference to champion lesser-known wines, we may well see more English wines added to its offering. A welcome addition to the London pub scene.
For further information or to book a table at The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker, 292-294 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PA click here.