If you like good wine but hate the pretence that often comes with it, I've got just the wine bar for you: Humble Grape.
You might have heard it before - there's already one in Battersea but they've just opened a new branch off Fleet Street and I headed there recently to find out a little more...
You can find Humble Grape tucked away beneath the vaults of St Bride's Church, in the infamous journalist district of Fleet Street.
The whole premise of this wine bar is to present wines in an inclusive, non-intimidating way. They want people to understand and enjoy wine but not experience that awful 'judging' feeling from the waiter when your searching for a bottle from the menu.
Wine is certainly something they have in abundance. All the wine at Humble Grape is sourced from small, sustainable independent vineyards from across the globe, each with its own story to tell.
There's around 30 wines available by the glass and over 200 by the bottle so you won't be pressed for choice and with regular wine-tasting sessions and talks with the suppliers, it's a great way of expanding your wine knowledge in a relaxed setting.
Interior wise - the new Humble Grape bar has a rustic, muscular feel (in-keeping with the surrounding area) with dark wooden panels, exposed brickwork and up-cycled cork walls.
It's got a modern feel but stays true to the history of the building, keeping all the old vaulted walls and ceiling.
One of my favourite features on the bar though is the private wine cellar. Available for couples to book (with no booking fee or minimum spend), it's perfect for two people to enjoy for a birthday, anniversary or even proposal!
Food wise, the menu at Humble Grape has been hand-selected by head chef Anna Allan. I was lucky enough to be invited to a private tasting session with some fellow bloggers to sample a selection of wines matched perfectly with the restaurants simple but delicious menu.
We started with a glass of crisp Prosecco, made using the Merlot grape called: 'Ghisolana La Divina Rosato Spumante' and nibbles of smoked almonds, billtong and olives.
The wine was delicate and fruity, with tasting notes of strawberry and peach. A really light and refreshing start to our evening.
Next came a duo of white wines, starting with the easily drinkable Dr Deinhard Grauer Burgunder and followed by a Weingut von Winning Forster Ungeheuer Reisling – the first of which was my favourite.
My not-scientific-in-the-slightest test for a white wine is how it catches in the throat. I find a lot of wines acidic and hard to swallow but that first wine was so light, I could have easily drunk it all evening.
These wines were paired with some delicious food including crunchy tenderstem broccoli, topped with feta, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and delicate edible flowers...
a Decedent vegetable platter filled with roasted butternut squash, baba ganoush, beetroot and ribboms of courgette and...
Other wines we tried on the evening included a Dutton-Goldield Chardonnay and a gorgorgeous, robust Weingut von Winning Pinot Noir to tide us over as the food kept coming.
and baked Camembert studded with rosemary and garlic, served with slices of toasted focaccia to scoop up all that delicious molten cheese...
Two of my favourite dishes were the simplest on the menu. A wonderfully fresh Tricolore salad with plump tomatoes, mozzarella, avocado and a good crack of black pepper...and my favourite dish - dry aged entrecote steak served medium rare - so simple but so delicious.
Overall I really enjoyed my experience at Humble Grape. If, like me, you enjoy wine but don't consider yourself a wine buff, it's definitely a great place to head to to explore wine in a more comfortable setting.
What's more - on Mondays you can buy bottles of wine at takeaway price...so what are you waiting for!
1 St. Bride's Passage, London EC4Y 8EJ
* I was a guest a Humble Grape
Some images in this post were taken by Jean Cazals