The 1901 Wine Lounge is the bar at the boutique Andaz Hotel, and is situated in the heart of the City of London, less than a two minute walk from Liverpool Street Station. In the last few years, this area of London has become synonymous with high end restaurants serving fine wines and world-class food. Duck and Waffle, Galvin La Chapelle and Searcys to name a few. The 1901 Wine Lounge fits right in!
*Disclaimer: We received two wine and cheese pairings free of charge, but all opinions remain my own and this is an honest review*
The Andaz Hotel is a 5 star boutique hotel that I happened across during my day job in TV– if anyone needs a stunning Masonic Temple, there is one hiding at the back of this hotel! The Andaz is exactly what you would expect from a modern 5 star hotel, slick décor, personal service, pure luxury…and these qualities have been poured in to their recently opened 1901 Wine Lounge.
Hotel bars are one of my guilty pleasures, Me and Mr D. have been known to while away many an hour at a hotel bar on holiday instead of exploring the local sites (bad, lazy travellers!). They aren’t overcrowded, you feel looked after and of course, the wine and bar snacks are going to be much more indulgent (and pricier) than your local boozer. They are places to relax, set the world to rights and soothe your worries.
As soon as you enter the 1901 Wine Lounge, you know you are going to be treated. The space isn’t huge, but it is perfectly formed with several seating areas. Lounge seats for people watching or a meeting, sofas underneath double height arches to relax on and enjoy the wines or a stunning bar for some serious tasting. The décor is spot on, creating the perfect atmosphere. It’s inviting, opulent, relaxing.
On arrival we started to browse the wine list, and it came as a pleasant surprise. So often in these fancy pants places, you are handed such a long wine list and it can be quite overwhelming if you haven’t done a sommelier course. At 1901, they have 18 wines by the glass to choose from; six white, one rose, seven red and four sparkling. Some you will be familiar with, others not so much, and prices start from £7 a glass (not too bad for a 5 star hotel bar!). We kicked of proceedings with a wonderful Syrah from Chile, along with some tasty vegetable crisps.
1901 Wine Lounge offers a selection of enticing treats, sharing boards, small plates and wine and cheese pairings. I recommend you go with a few people so that you can sample as much as possible! The cheeses are a real star here, the Head Chef and a local cheese shop and restaurant, Androuet, work closely together to bring you the best selection, but more about those later!
We started off making our way through the ‘small plates’, with Beef Bourguignon Croquette (£8) and Octopus Salad (£9). We both had the same reaction when they arrived at the table, we were very surprised by the generous portions – I was a little worried we wouldn’t be able to try everything on the menu!
The croquettes had a wonderful texture to them, the beef was perfectly tender and the croquette itself was crisped to perfection. My only criticism is that ‘bourguignon’ conjurs up images of rich, deep flavours and I feel that this could have been slightly deeper in favour, but hey, I’m being really picky here, I’d totally have them again! The Octopus Salad was a real triumph, and this dish is a perfect gateway for those who aren’t so keen on eating tentacles! The octopus was perfectly cooked, (so many times it can be overcooked and rubbery, even at decent restaurants) nestled in a salad of shaved fennel, pickled peppers and olives and dressed with basil oil. It was a perfectly light and fresh dish, truly scrumptious.
At this point we had a breather and ordered a couple of glasses of Bordeaux. Everything a Bordeaux should be.
Ding ding! Round two! After much discussion, we settled on going for the Bacon Beef Sliders (£6) and Pork & Rabbit Terrine (£9). The beef sliders were good, solid burgers. They definitely hit the spot, juicy, firm and full of flavour, the only complaint here was we wanted more bacon jam, it was delish! The sliders were served alongside some fries which disappeared pretty quickly!
The Pork & Rabbit Terrine was a bit of a sticking point, in the fact that I really wanted it and Mr D doesn’t like rabbit (we had a pet one once, it’s a long story). I even offered to give up half my beef slider for it! Congratulations 1901, you convinced him that rabbit, is in fact tasty as hell! The terrine was the perfect texture and packed full of flavour and its served with apple and blackcurrant chutney and truffle butter which works together amazingly well. Probably our favourite dish of the evening.
To round off the night, we were treated to something a little bit special, and the reason I was drawn to visit the 1901 Wine Lounge, the wine and cheese pairings (£9 each). There are three pairings to choose from and we went for the Mencia with Blue Cheese and the Vin De Pays Med with Brie (there is also a hard cheese pairing on offer). If you don’t quite understand how pairing wine and food can work, this is a great way to try it out. The stand out was the brie pairing, the wine brought out the flavour wonderfully. The cheeses were so tasty by themselves, the addition of the wines made them out of this world!
This hotel bar is such an amazing venue, if you are looking for somewhere to go and catch up with friends this place is definitely worth a look. Yes, the wine is a bit more pricey than a pub in Soho, but it really is worth every penny and the dishes are really reasonable with generous portions. Our sommelier was incredibly knowledgeable about the wine and very engaging, you feel at home as soon as you step in. A great place to go after work for a few glasses of top notch wine and nibbles.
We went to the 1901 Wine Lunge on a Tuesday evening, it was pretty quiet, but still had an amazing atmosphere. I wondered past on a Thursday night and it was much busier so I would recommend booking if you plan on going.
Our bill for the evening came to £104.50 plus 12.5% service charge. This was for 4 small plates and 7 glasses of wine. The two cheese and wine pairings were complimentary and usually £9 each.