Terriors Wine Bar is a terrific little place on William IV St, which lies between Charing Cross Rd and the Strand in London. It is a plain little street and the main draw is Terriors, one of the capital’s little secrets. There is no way you can miss Terriors, just follow the buzz and the people, for this unpretentious little wine bar and eatery is packed every night.
In the summer people spill out onto the street crowding around a few chairs and barrel tables. The inside has the feeling of an old style Bristo, with bare brick walls, bentwood chairs and French memorabilia. The place has a warm and friendly atmosphere and attracts a loyal clientele, so if you want to eat at Terriors it is advisable to book. Alternatively you can take your chances and hope for a space at the long zinc-topped bar that lines one side of the restaurant.
The food offering is simple and the menu focuses on seasonal produce, cured meats and fine cheeses from France, Italy and Spain. Dale Osborne, of Chiltern Firehouse fame, is now in charge of the kitchen and the dishes continue to be carefully created to enhance the wine experience. Choose from a small but tantalising selection of small plates, bar snacks and Plats du Jour. Or an equally mouthwatering choice of charcuterie and cheese boards.
Wine is the main event at Terriors and its cellar is impressive. The wine list is formidable with over 25 pages and focuses on natural wines from France and Italy, which are organically and biodynamically produced. As Terriors explain themselves:
“The wines are sourced from small artisan growers who work sustainably, organically or biodynamically in the vineyard and with minimal interventions in the winery. Much of the farming is labour-intensive, often done with horses rather than tractors and all of the picking and selection is by hand. Yields, usually from old vines, are low. Fermentations tend to be with wild yeasts and several wines are made without addition of sulphur dioxide and are unfiltered and unfined. In style the wines tend to be light-to-medium bodied, fresh (even refreshing), savoury and delicious to drink – but even more delicious with food.”
Such a large wine list can be daunting at the best of times and one that focuses on produce from small growers even more so. However the staff know this and have been well trained. They are extremely knowledgeable and guide you adeptly to a wine to suit your taste and accompany your food.
Terriors is a rare beast in London and there are few places at the moment that pull of the mix of exceptionally good wine, seasonally selected food and a casual dining experience so well.
Terriors Wine Bar, 5 William IV St, London, WC2N 4DW www.terroirswinebar.com
Photographic credits: Photography is from Terroirs website. Photographer: Paul Winch-Furness