2 weeks ago
You’ll not often find a combo of French hospitality & Thai food and, after visiting Bottle + Rye, we’re not sure why it isn’t more common.
On the corner of Cold Harbour Lane and Brixton Market is Bottle + Rye, a charming, Parisian-inspired wine bar with the finest small plates on offer. It’s another one in Robin Gill’s roster (he’s got Sorella, Darby’s, Maria G’s, Bermondsey Larder…) and, like his other restaurants, this one is full of personality. The menu is scribbled onto a black chalk board and there’s a majestic disco ball hanging from the ceiling making it cosy enough to bring your next date, but also with a bit of Brixton edge that makes it such a popular spot in the Market.
We were greeted by the general manager, Sharon, who was both friendly and incredibly knowledgable. She has an Italian background and was a chef herself, which shows in her passion for food- she was able to give us lots of detail on the ingredients and exactly how each dish was cooked. Her touch added to the charm of this place- we felt so looked after. She also knows a thing or two about wines and hand picked us each a glass of Spanish red and Slovakian orange. We were told the story behind each bottle; the kind of attention and detail that will keep us coming back here.
At the moment the Head Chef is Paul Asher. He is on a kitchen residency until 30th March and is familiar with how Robin runs things: He used to work at Clapham’s beloved The Dairy before it closed. Since his spell there he spent time travelling south Asia and learning cooking techniques out there. He returned inspired and has carefully curated a Thai inspired menu for diners at Bottle + Rye. It’s fantastic.
We tried a lot of the dishes, starting off with the crispy rice salad with pickled mussels. Made with fish sauce, chilli jam and shallots, this was full of the zingy, powerful flavours you’d associate with Thai cuisine. Each mouthful made us ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ obscene amounts. It really knocked our socks off. The grilled king prawns were a real triumph too. Four big, pink prawns doused in a green nam Jin sauce. We’d never heard, or tried, this sauce before but it was a real punch of taste. It’s not for the faint hearted because it’s spicy, but if you can handle the heat then it’s certainly a must order.
Up next were two meaty dishes. The wonderfully named ‘moo ping’ is tender pork shoulder bites on a stick. The pork marinated in a sticky, tangy sauce and made for a delicious bite. Lastly was the sai oua sausage which came with a green chilli relish. This was fragrant and the sausage was left to soak up coconut cream overnight which made it tender and nicely complimented the zing from the relish. Another fantastic dish.
We were lucky enough to be treated to a soon to be on the menu cocktail. Launching on Valentine’s Day, the ‘Booming Cherry Fizz’ is a deliciously sweet-sharp drink that comes in a champagne flute with a dinky little cherry at the bottom. It’s perfect for a romantic evening and is included in their Valentine’s Day set menu (check that out here). There are a couple of spaces left for it, so book in fast if you want in. If you want to try out Chef Paul’s Thai food then he’s cooking at Bottle + Rye until 30th March. Don’t miss out.