Food & Drink: Bites: Glass Acts

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The Independent Culture
A toast to excellent lists that encourage experimenting with lots of wines which are available by the glass.

Cherwell Boathouse, 50 Barwell Road, Oxford (01865 552746). Tue-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch. Take a punt on any of the score of wines by the glass at the appealingly rickety riverside restaurant. Around 20 per cent of the list is available by the glass, and, as owner Anthony Verdin is half of wine merchant Morris & Verdin, the list is unusually engaging. House wines start at pounds 2.50. Lunch is pounds 18.50, dinner pounds 20.50.

Corney & Barrow, 116 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2 (0171-655 9800). Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 12-5pm. A landmark wine bar in all senses - opposite the ENO and with a thoroughly modern mien. Food in the first-floor brasserie is neat rustic for pounds 15-pounds 20; an extensive selection of wines from pounds 2.80 a glass. From a list divided by grape variety, 40 are sold by the glass. A classic Chablis Domaine Servin for pounds 4.50 and Staton Hills Pinor Noir from Oregon for pounds 5.60 are tempting.

Leith's Soho, 41 Beak Street, London W1 (0171-287 2057). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner. A cool oasis of Englishness in the West End, distinguished by fresh, seasonal food with notable vegetarian choices. Set lunch and pre-theatre dinner menu is pounds 19.50; pounds 25-plus a la carte without wines. Nearly 30 of these are served by the glass from a list which includes Californian Shadow Creek (pounds 4.50) as an alternative to champagne.

Lomo, 222 Fulham Road, London SW10 (0171-349 8848) Mon-Sat 8.30am-11pm, Sun 10am-10.30pm. This untacky tapas bar is a top class Spanish package. As well as many sherries, most wines are available by the glass. Spanish discoveries range from organically produced "smooth and rounded" Rioja Urbina Crianza for pounds 4.50, to "up and coming" Valdesil 1998 from Bodegas Senorio in Valdeorras for pounds 3.25, along with others from Chile, Italy and Australia.

Le Faisan Dore, 52 Edde Cross Street, Ross-on-Wye, (01989 565751). Tue- Sat dinner. Formerly Pheasants, now a brasserie with moderately priced (pounds 20 for three courses) mainly Mediterranean food. The imaginative wine list with 40 by the glass remains a major attraction. Experimenting with unusual varieties is encouraged with a "try before you buy" policy.

Caroline Stacey