In what is an incredible achievement, Margot, the Covent Garden restaurant serving diners authentic, divine Italian dishes, has been named as having the best wine list in London by Douglas Blyde of Wine List Confidential. in his piece on the restaurant, which is part of C & C Alpha Group’s Shanti hospitality, Douglas Blyde commented:
Margot’s 350 bin strong list has been created by co-founders, Paulo de Tarso (ex Bar Boulud) and Nicolas Jaouën (former restaurant director at Alain Ducasse) and is composed of 45% Italian wines, with a further 35% coming from elsewhere in Europe (particularly France), and 20% drawn from the New World. ‘We travelled through Italy to gain insight into Italian wine culture, including lesser-known, but worthwhile wines,’ comments de Tarso. ‘Leafing through the list, north to south, we picked indigenous grapes expressing terroir and tradition, such as a magnum of Timorasso from Piedmont, Zibibbo from Sicily, Susumaniello from Apulia, and Greco di Tufo (Campania). However, although an Italian restaurant, we wanted to offer interesting wines from elsewhere.’ Hence the Meursault from eager Burgundian Domaine, Francois Mikulski, Corsican Vermentino, dry Hungarian Furmint and Australian Arneis earn their place on a list also featuring first growth Bordeaux and enticing Californians.
Finely calibrated service characterises Margot, underlined by de Tarso’s mantra, ‘my intent is to change the customer service industry in London one table at a time.’ Such care is also demonstrated by head sommelier, Sabrina Manolio (formerly of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon) who believes wine is an inextricable part of the dining out experience. ‘It is a pleasure as a sommelier to understand the preferences of our guests and guide them rather than be anonymous.’
Overseen by head chef, Maurizio Morelli (formerly of Latium), dishes may include small plates of salumi and cheese, such as fennel enriched Tuscan salami, and Ubriaco all’Amarone – a cow’s milk cheese finished in Amarone must. Also try the vitello tonnato, and beef tartare with Norcia truffle and scrambled eggs which works suprisingly well, and the ossobuco di vitello which comes with its own spoon with which to extract the fatty goodness. Finally, the cocoa éclair with caramel mousse, pistachio cream and pear ice cream strikes a harmonious chord with the Apostoles 30 year old Palo Cortado, perhaps followed by a tightly made ristretto using beans roasted by Julius Meinl. If only more restaurants paid as much attention to their coffee…
Margot holds producer dinners each month, incidentally, including Fattoria Le Pupille, Isole e Olena and Proprietá Sperino. ‘The latter estates are owned by Paolo De Marchi who is fully focused on the production of Isole e Olena and his son on Proprietá Sperino. Rich and entertaining evenings of wine and a five course feast!’ says de Tarso.
A special word goes out to Wimbledon Brewery who produce a special food friendly ale for the restaurant.