Terroirs, WC2N 4DW

A wine bar and bistro restaurant between the Strand and Trafalgar Square, very near Charing Cross Station.

Set in a yellow terrace block just off the Strand, it's easy to miss this place the first time, but for wine lovers, it would be hard not to want to return, given their excellent wines and the fine quality of the food. Their name in fact emphasises this interest in wines ("terroir" being a term referring to the land on which a wine is grown), and the extensive wine list backs this up. A few pages pick out their current favourite wines, and there's a good number available by the glass (125ml) or carafe (500ml), at very reasonable prices for the quality photo of wines available by the glass. Their staff are all fully trained to make wine recommendations.

Inside, there are a number of tables up by the street-side window photo, as well as another eating area deeper into the space, down several steps, with several large booths and some smaller tables at the back. The bar area (with an extensive selection of cognacs, armagnacs, calvados and whiskies on display) has seats set along its length, with place settings on the metal-topped bar counter. A basement room, opened in October 2009, provides additional seating. Tables are in general fairly close-set, and a little bit rickety, but this isn't a formal restaurant, after all. It can at times be hard to catch the waiters' attention, but service is otherwise perfectly friendly.

On a lunchtime visit, the place filled up quickly, so booking is advised. Visiting again in the late-afternoon, things were much quieter and there was no problem seating us at a comfortable sofa area near the top. They keep the bar seats unreserved at all times, so there's always a chance of being able to sit there at least.

The food menu is built around accompaniments to the wine, so most prominent are the 'small plates' (around £5-9) and a separate charcuterie section of meats and terrines (£5-7, such as the ventrêche photo), which are all a perfectly reasonable size for a main, if you're planning to move on to a dessert or cheese. However, there are also the more expensive 'plats du jour' (all meat-based, at around £10-12). Bar snacks and cheeses are also offered throughout the day (small plates and plats du jour are only available at lunchtime and evening) photo of menu.

On Ewan's visit in March 2009, a soft polenta and wild mushrooms dish (£6) was a very nice size, with a lovely creamy polenta accompanied by the mushrooms scattered on top. Accompanied by beetroot, watercress & pecorino salad (shared with my friend), this was more than enough for a lunchtime main photo. It also left room for a gorgeous agen prune & armagnac tart (£5) for dessert, and for my friend's pannacotta, pistachio & Yorkshire rhubarb (£5), which was likewise excellent; on a later visit, a panna cotta was delicious and creamy.

On a return visit in April 2009, wines were excellent, though the accompaniment of bar snacks we had was of variable quality. The breakfast radishes were chilled, fresh, and crisp (£2.50) photo, and the cheeses (£3.50 each) were well-presented on a board photo, though it was rather warm inside so they quickly started sweating. The tapenade (£2.50) was very salty in Ewan's view (though fine in Kake's), but served with some excellent crostini photo. Duck scratchings (£2.50) were disappointing and inconsistent; some were too chewy while others were too hard photo. Boquerones (£2.50) were good, a decent-sized portion served on the same thin, crispy crostini that came with the tapenade photo.

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Last visited by Kake and Sarah, July 2013. Opening hours taken from the Terroirs website, July 2013.

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OS X co-ord: 530204 OS Y co-ord: 180603 (Latitude: 51.508853 Longitude: -0.123587)
Last edited 2015-01-22 08:39:03 (version 30; diff). List all versions.