Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list

Jan 25, 12 Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list
Thierry Tomasin, proprietor and host

Thierry Tomasin, proprietor and host

Thierry Thomasin was the Chef Sommelier at 2-Michelin starred La Gavroche for 12 years and he’s seen plenty. From the rich and famous to the punters coming in to celebrate a special occasion, he’s been on hand to advise on wine.

house champagne

house champagne

Thierry now has his own restaurant, Angelus, a hidden gem in West London near Lancaster Gate tube stop, a delightful brasserie de luxe serving up modern British French cuisine. The food is delicious but as befits a restaurant run by an ex-Chef Sommelier, he not only wants guests to enjoy the food but also the wine and has made helping his guest negotiate the wine list a top priority.

To that end, he has come up with a special dinner to show customers how to handle a wine list. At first he had in mind a dinner for men only but the demand by women to join in has been so great that he’s added another dinner for women and is even contemplating a dinner for both men and women.

We had a dress rehearsal of the dinner, a 3 course meal paired with a wine of Thierry’s choosing. Thierry introduced each course along with the wine and why he thought it would go well with the dish. He also offered up amusing anecdotes and tips on what do do when confronted with a wine list, whether it’s as thick as a bible or two pages, he gave lots of helpful hints.

smoked salmon to start

smoked salmon to start

duck breast main

duck breast main

A few top tips, call ahead to consult with the sommelier or look online (many restaurants have their lists online) to see what kind of wines are offered. Champagne is a good aperitif, it’s always my favourite, and don’t hesitate to order wine by the glass for each course. As a matter of fact, each dish was paired with a wine by the glass from the restaurant list. There was a lot more and Thierry is a very entertaining fellow but I’m not going to give away his secrets, you’ll just have to dine at Angelus or better yet book a place at his “Negotiating a Wine List” dinner. He has one coming up in early February for men and the woman’s dinner is later in the month.

dessert - rhubarb millefeuille

dessert – rhubarb millefeuille

For more information, consult the Angelus website or give them a call.

Angelus

4 Bathhurst St

London

W2 2SD

T: 020 7402 0083

Tube: Lancaster Gate – Central Line

Have any top tips for negotiating a wine list? Leave your tip in the comments section and help a sista’ out :)

4 Comments

  1. Im glad I have read your replay. You have learn me I can be more casual like you are when asking for a wine.
    All the best. M.

  2. Looks almost as fab as the new site …;-)

    Great idea for a dinner to help customers navigate the wine list. Although shouldn’t a wine lists be more approachable so the customer doesn’t feel intimidated. While I quite enjoy a wine list of biblical proportions, most are terrified by it and I really would like to see lists be more approachable.

    Although some years ago, the Dorchester Grill (OK…it was a Mum and Dad dinner) had an expansive list but at the very back had a below £35 page of at least 2 dozen wines…. quite surprising for the Dorchester and user friendly.

    • I think that consumers should get over their fear of the sommelier. Gone are the days (mostly) when the sommelier was a snooty foreigner in a tuxedo looking down his nose at you while you perused the list. Thierry had loads of tips when speaking to the somm, for example, pick something from the wine by the glass list that you like to give them an indication of your palate. Similarly, you can point discreetly to a wine price and the somm should be able to surmise how much you want to spend without you actually having to come out and say it. Being American, I just come out and say, I want a wine under £40 or whatever our price limit is for the evening, that goes with my dinner ;)

      In cases where there is no sommelier, the waiter should be able to help you if the list is biblical in proportion, most fine dining restaurants have fully trained staff. Part of the pleasure of perusing a wine list (for me) is looking at wines that I can’t really afford but it’s nice to know they are there, call me a “wine tourist” if you like :)

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