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Friday, 3 June 2011

Vinopolis new world wine tasting and dinner

Cantina Vinopolis on Urbanspoon

One of the reasons I like Cantina Vinopolis is due to its decor, or maybe lack there of, as the atmosphere is purely derived from the massive exposed brick Victorian arches (used as storage facilities back in the day) within which the restaurant is situated. It is lavish.
Upon receiving an email from Vinopolis about a wine tasting night (Old and New world wine, tasting four wines), and a three course meal, for a mere £35, how could one say no!? 

New world wines are referred to those wines which are produced outside the "traditional wine growing areas of Europe", such as Argentina, New Zealand, Chile, Australia etc.

The "New World" wine night therefore consisted of:
  • Sauvignon Blank, Iona Wines, West Cape, South Africa
  • Leyda Chardonnay, Falaris Hill vinyard Leyda Valley, Chile
  • Glaetzer Wallace, Barossa Valley, Australia
  • Tomero Malbec, Valle de Uco, Medoza, Argentina
Opening the evening was one of Vinopolis' wine sources talking to us about the different wines, the regions they are from, and stories about the wineries. Here is the first couple of minutes:


(Sorry, I do realize that he was just getting to the interesting bit, he was genuinely very interesting to listen to)

Normally a Malbec fan, I actually preferred the Barossa Valley red (which was more a Shiraz), as it was a deeper and smoother flavour, less acidic, coming from an older vine. 

The contrast in the white wines was interesting, and we all liked the Chardonnay over the Sauvignon as it was aged in barrels for a 12 months period, and therefore not only had a smooth oaky flavour, but also had a lower acidity level due to this fact.

Each of these bottles ranged from between £30 and £40 on the wine list, and being our favourite, we ordered the Chardonnay to have with our meal (£30)

Although a set menu, it was vast with impressive choice and big portions.

Foie Gras
The foie gras was truly divine. The texture could have been butter, the richness made this portion almost too much for one person. But I ate it all and loved it.

The spiced  grilled squid with Panzanella Salad, green olives tomatoes and Chorizo was also a hit.

Rump of Lamb
The Rump of Lamb requested to be cooked medium rare, and came out.... medium rare (Hallelujah!) served with with crushed potatoes, black olives, semi dried tomato, spinach and red wine Jus. My friend also requested for the Lamb to be cooked medium rare, but hers came out, rare. Not sure what happend there (?), but a rump of lamb is a little too fatty to be eaten rare. Well this one was anyway (only downside).

Overall, it was a big size portion and it was hearty. The ingredients were well seasoned and balanced. The semi dried tomatoes added a great zing and burst of flavour in every bite.

Now for desserts (it is part of the set menu after all)

The cheese platter, as my friend put it, "was an irresponsible amount of cheese for one person". However irresponsible, 95% of the cheese was too hard, and was either cut too soon in anticipation of serving, or has been in the fridge too long, and therefore could not be eaten with joy. Dissapointing, especially since Vinopolis has such a large selection of good wine!

Cheese Platter dessert
Chocolate Fondant with Mint Ice Cream and Raspberry Sorbet was simply, amazing! I am not egxagerating. Crispy core and soft, oozing center was a joy to eat with the sorbet. I am not sure if I would have paired the two flavours of ice cream together, but if eaten seperately it worked.

The service was good, if not slightly over attentive to begin with (with two seperate waiters coming up to our table ready to take our order within 2 minutes of eachother).
The idea of the wine evening was for us to experience the wine, but we did not get the wine menu straight away and expected to order our food first (twice with two different waiters, this stressed me out, but only slightly).

The staff were happy to help with the wine and food menu and knew it well. The bill came to £56 per head, which is £29 for the food, £5 for the tasting and £60 for two bottles of Chardonay.

It was a good evening, and the wine tasting added to this experience. Good food, good wine, good atmosphere.


  1. The Chocolate Fondant and raspberry sorbet looks amazing...and the decor is beautiful!

    Btw nice design update to your blog :)

  2. Foodie Cravings: it was so much food!! i would love one of the chocolate fondants right was very good!! warm and oozy!

    thanks re the comment ;) i like it better also, hope you enjoyed the little audio number