Wine Pairings

One of the most exciting things for me about the Autumn pop-up run has been the prospect of finally being able to serve wine to my guests.
I love paired wines, especially when they have the ability to reveal or bring out something about the food that you would not otherwise have tasted. But a whole flight of paired wines is something that most restaurants only offer with their tasting menus. I wanted every dish on my menu to have a wine to go with it, and for them all to be available by the glass so that people can order matching drinks with every course of their meal.

Sourcing

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Majestic is my go-to in Oxford for wine, mainly for a personal connection but also because are reliable, affordable and willing to deliver. I asked Graeme, the manager at the Summertown branch, to come up with some pairings for my September menu, and then spent a very enjoyable hour being whisked round the shop as he talked about the potential virtues of various bottles in their range for pairing purposes.
I ended up locking in a Madiera (Henriques and Henriques 10 years old) to go with my salt caramel brownies and the La Toledana Gavi di Gavi to go with the bacon-wrapped scallops – as well as a promise for a training and tasting session in the near future to work out the rest of the recommendations.
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Tap Social is a craft brewery in Botley with a social mission and a passion for unique, small batch beers. As well as their laudable efforts in rehabilitating people serving prison sentences, they also have one of the coolest new venues in Oxford, a warehouse brewery-come-music-venue/coffee shop. I went over there to talk about some pairings for some of our dishes that might go better with beers than with wines.
Tap Social gave me a taste of a fantastic beer called Get Your Hops Off with some really tropical fruity notes, suggesting it might be a really great pairing for some of the Indian-themed dishes on my menu, especially the pumpkin curry I have coming up in October. But the standout beer pairing from the session was an American Pale Ale called Goodsize Eh? that had notes of sweet maple syrup – the PERFECT match for my Southern-style fried chicken.
For the Smoke and Thyme Autumn Pop-Up run, every dish on the menu has a matched wine or beer available by the glass. Prices are £6 for one or £5 per glass when matching wines for 3 or more courses. 
September dates are filling up fast – book now!

 

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