The word ‘tapas’ reminds me of beautiful summer evenings in the Mediterranean, sipping a (large) glass of wine and basking in the glow of the setting sun. Back in the UK, it’s hard to mimic this idyllic lifestyle – but Social Wine & Tapas succeeds.
Based in London’s James Street in Marylebone, this restaurant and bar offers a mouth-watering selection of modern tapas-style dishes, curated by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, and head chef Frankie Van Loo. Though this is Atherton’s sixth London site, it is a notable addition to his restaurant group, where wines and sommeliers will take centre stage. Customers can sit down with friends and indulge in the sumptuous taste of Latin food and various wines, in an atmosphere that encompasses the exotic Mediterranean bar lifestyle, with London’s busiest areas just outside the door.
Set over two floors, the ground floor houses a wine shop that offers quality, rare and fine wines with an accessible price range. Trained sommeliers are on hand at all times to offer tastings, allowing the customer to discover the perfect wine for them. The shop also stocks glassware, accessories, and Coravin systems to keep your wine fresh. Laure Patry, who has worked with Jason for over a decade, heads up Social Wine & Tapas having created a dynamic and accessible list of wines from around the world, whilst also championing smaller vineyards and growers.
The ground floor also features the tapas bar, which has an open kitchen with a dining counter, banquet seating for up to nine covers, and an elevated wine tasting table for ten. A narrow staircase leads to a basement wine bar with additional seating, a second tasting area, a corner bar and a preparation kitchen counter.
The interior of the restaurant is decked out with polished woods, and red and green leather upholstery; tonal lighting creates a yellow radiance around the bar area, bringing out the colours of the wines that line the walls. To create this urban and contemporary interior, Jason worked closely with award-winning designers, Russell Sage Studios, who specialise in restaurants, hotels and private clubs.
The tapas menu comprises a satisfying selection of beautiful flavours, from Szechuan fried chiprones to salt-baked beetroot. With all dishes set at reasonable prices, customers are able to order a selection for the table to share, simulating the traditional style of tapas as seen in Spanish cuisine. Larger dishes, such as 40-day aged hanger steak beef, Norfolk suckling pig, and glazed Iberican pork ribs, can be enjoyed as a main course following on from tapas, or as an alternative. To round things off, patrons can select from a delectable range of desserts, including chocolate tart and Madagascan vanilla cream, and Crème Catalane with orange.
As with most of London’s casual bars and restaurants, Social Wine & Tapas does not take reservations, so swing by early to secure a spot!
Visit Social Wine & Tapas at 39 James Street, London, W1U 1DL.