It’s always fascinating to find out how London changes and how spaces have changed in terms of how they have been used. The new Vestry wine bar is a case in point. In one incarnation it was a vestry within St. Sepulchre’s Parish. Now it is a wine bar offering a large selection of wines as well as small plates with an emphasis on British seafood. It is a multifunction venue, offering food and wine masterclasses and live music. Its use before becoming its current incarnation? A gay bar called Fitladz. Talking to the manager about the process of transforming the venue into its current state, he let on that there were some very interesting items found left in the basement.
The venue has changed a great deal since the Fitladz moved out and it has been restored to more of its previous religious incarnation. The interior is refined and exactly what you would expect from a high class wine bar. The food on offer is small plates, ideally suited to sharing whilst splitting a glass or bottle of wine. It is best to get a selection of them, allowing you to pick and choose.
My companion and I went for a wide selection, including Black Angus hanger steak, which came with chili, parsley and garlic dressing, salt-baked tiger prawns, baked Somerset Camembert, which was accompanied by rosemary, garlic and sourdough soldiers, faggot croquettes, fried baby Cornish squid and rosemary fries. All of this was picked in order to help us soak up a bottle of Château Grand Pascaud Bordeaux, which had a very down to earth pleasantness.
It is very easy for a wine bar to provide mediocre food as the main reason for people coming is to drink. However, the excellence of the food at the Vestry should be reason enough to come alone. The exquisiteness of the small plates were fantastic, showcasing the range of British regional dishes. The hanger steak had a real depth of flavour and texture and the baked Camembert proved that it could be considered in the same league as its French counterpart. The seafood had all the hallmarks of freshness and was expertly cooked.
The Vestry has a lot to recommend it and its determination to be venue that doesn’t just shuttle drinkers in and out makes it a venue to come back to again and again. Whether you’re just coming for a glass of wine or dropping in to hear live music, you’re sure to enjoy your visit.
115 Charterhouse Street