40 Maltby Street
Belying its identity as an oenophile’s dream emporium, 40 Maltby Street sits rather inconspicuously under a railway arch in Southwark. But it all makes sense when you realise that this delightful wine bar-kitchen-shop hybrid is found in the warehouse of Gergovie Wines; one of a new breed of wine merchants putting an emphasis on natural means of wine production over chemical fertilisers and pesticides. As a result, 40 Maltby Street is able to serve up some of the most exquisite French, Italian and Slovenian wines at a smidgen of the markup that most London venues get away with.
The atmosphere here is so laidback as to be almost horizontal. You can stop by to whisk away a bottle from the well-stocked selection, but you’ll most likely want to settle in to enjoy the vibe and the vino in situ. The kitchen’s menu changes throughout the week, but the focus remains on rustic seasonality regardless. Think: great bowls of steaming fish broth, duck rillettes on toast, or tender grilled ox heart with Cornish new potatoes and horseradish.
The whole place is a glorious triumph of substance over style. Just make sure you get down there early as the limited capacity and restricted opening hours mean that it’s almost constantly full.