If sherry conjures up images of little old ladies then surely port brings visions of slightly aged, ahem, portly men to mind. On the whole, it’s regarded as an end of the meal drink and a big meal at that, either enjoyed on its own or, particularly at this time of year, paired with a fine Stilton.
But there’s a revolution underway, a movement which is aiming to bring port from the back of the drinks cabinet to the centre of the dining table. And it’s not solely aimed at the traditional port drinker.
Churchill’s Port House is the first pop-up port bar in the capital if not the whole of the UK. Spread over three storeys, it takes in a teeny gallery space on the top floor, a low-key chef’s table in the middle and a small restaurant at ground level. The mood is decidedly boho in Soho and none the worse for it.
Seven varieties of ports are offered, ranging from woody whites to rich, full-bodied vintage tawnies – each of which can be paired with the small but exquisite selection of tapas dishes on offer. True they all come from one stable – Churchill’s, hence the name above the door but as they’re all absolutely delicious, that doesn’t matter a jot.
Max Graham is the manager and creative inspiration of the bar. He also happens to be the son of winemaker and founder of Churchill’s, the first British Port wine company to have been established in over 50 years, John Graham. This is Max’s way of dusting off the stuffy image of port and making it fresh, modern and relevant to a new audience but at the same time managing not to scare away the traditionalists. And it works.
If you’re in or around Soho in the next few weeks, check it out – it’ll convince you that port is for every day not just for Christmas.
Churchill’s Port House, 26 Greek Street, London W1D 5DE. churchills-porthouse.com. Open for lunch and dinner Thursday to Saturday until 2nd February 2014.
The Cocktail Lovers say…
We recommend trying one of the Port Flights – a wonderful journey of tastes and great value at £15 for three full-sized glasses. And if you want to find out more about port, sign up for one of the regular tastings led by John Graham. churchills-porthouse.com for details.
This week we’re loving…
Hands up who likes a bargain? Yup, us too. That’s why our favourite discovery this week is BringABottle.co.uk, the free online resource that lets you search over 1,900 branded wines, beers and spirits to find the best deals. Add it to your favourites now.
As featured on The Independent Dish of the Day blog 19/12/2013