7 months ago

Red Vine makes for a cosy, wintery evening

Stepping into Red Vine feels like being transported to a brightly coloured, cosy European restaurant.

Blue and yellow walls, vintage Metro chairs from the 80s, poems on the walls, candlelit tables and smooth music playing mellow tunes in the background gives it all the feels of ‘that little place’ you might stumble across on your first day of holiday somewhere. There’s a lit fire roaring away which immediately adds to the welcoming feel and, honestly, this charming atmosphere is a reason to return by itself. It’s casual, warm and full of small, thoughtful touches.

As the name suggests, Red Vine is very good for drinks. All the house cocktails looked incredibly tempting and if we had a bit more time we’d have happily made our way through the entire list. Of what we did try it’s clear there’s a lot of care going into them- all are beautifully presented and garnished to perfection. We went for the fruity strawberry gin sour and the spicy Aperol Paloma, which sounded like a combo of three of our favourite drinks in one… and tasted like it too. We really enjoyed this innovative, punchy number and if you like to try something a little different then we’d recommend giving it a go.

The wine list is important here too. The manager, Richard, comes from a family of Welsh winemakers and grew up on vineyards. It was one of his dad’s bottles of red that we had with our meal. A proper bottle with peppery notes that made it light and easy drinking which we appreciated with three courses worth of food in our stomachs! Richard really is passionate about the wine offering and will chat to you about all the bottles the have on offer with knowledge and enthusiasm. If you’re stuck choosing then let him help you out.

The first of the three courses were their famous deep fried mussels with a garlicky aioli, some crispy halloumi fries with sweet chilli and little mushroom tartines with fresh herbs that felt very seasonally appropriate. The mussels really stood up to the hype they’ve been getting on social media- they were seasoned well and were as tender as you like. This trio were a real showcase of what Red Vine is all about; British food with small European twists here and there. It’s homely and familiar but has that little bit of elevation you want when dining out.

For the mains we had some real classics; the battered haddock and chips and the roast chicken with mash and asparagus. Both were comforting and warming… And nothing beats home made chips in our books. These were especially good swiped through the tartar sauce that came with the crisp fish and the chicken was bursting with homemade, happy flavours that transported us to big family meals from our childhood. We added the caramelised courgette and white bean salad for some greens and loved the creamy, luxuriousness of this one- a salad in its very best form.

This comforting theme continued with our two desserts. The sticky toffee pudding was an absolute treat and the cheeky pistachio tart was a nutty, rich delight. Both would be an excelled ‘accidental’ order if you’re just visiting for a glass of wine by the fireplace.

Red Vine has charmed us. We loved the food but it was the interior and drinks menu that especially stood out to us. There was so much effort in the both of these that a trip here with friends for a few cocktails or a glass of wine (and, ok, a couple of bites to eat) would make for a really gorgeous evening.

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