A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the launch of the new wine list at Mien Tay Battersea. The wine list has been developed with Willie Lebus of Bibendum and will launch this month, as soon as their alcohol licence comes through.
The wine list is impressively affordable – there are definitely no big markups – and wines are available by the glass, carafe or bottle. There are just 14 wines on the list, along with fizz (Prosecco or Champagne) and sherry. Prices range from £2.50 to £4.50 per 125ml glass, and the most expensive bottle is £20.
We started off with a glass of prosecco, and morsels of Fried Crispy Sea Bass with Lemongrass, Garlic and Chilli, which happens to be my favourite thing on the menu.
I say there were just 14, but it turned out they expected us to try them all, and each came with two different food options – all of the wines have been matched to vegetarian options too. This was going to be quite a challenge. I’ll just mention my favourite wine and food matches.
I couldn’t believe how well our first course of Steamed Sea Bass with Ginger and Spring Onion went with the wine, Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio. The Sea Bass itself was incredible too. The next wine, a Picpoul de Pinet, went very well with the vegetarian spring rolls. The rolls came with a delicious peanut sauce and on my notes I’ve written “best spring rolls I’ve ever tasted!”
The next wine was a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and despite my loyalty to Marlborough, my home turf (should that be home terroir?), I had to admit it was delicious. I ate fresh seafood rolls with this wine. The rolls were packed with mint but the wine stood up to this very well, with a real gooseberry punch. Salt, pepper and garlic squid was also crunchy and delicious. I love the amount of salt they put in the batter – it’s definitely not heart-healthy food.
Then more rolls came out with an Alamos Mendoza Chardonnay and I’ve written that the wine was an even better match. Tofu with lemongrass and chilli was also a hit.
One more white wine was followed by a rose, a sherry and then we were into the reds. If you’re counting that makes about 7 or 8 glasses of wine so far, though by this stage I was making use of the spittoon. I’m afraid my notes get a little sketchy after this. The evening was clearly deteriorating.
Helly will possibly kill me for posting this photo.
It was also getting late, and it was time to admit defeat. We abandoned the final courses, and I ended up on a night bus in Trafalgar Square clutching a beautiful tea set to my chest (thank you Mien Tay, it is the tea set of my dreams and I got it home in one piece), wearing a Vietnamese hat, and being pointed at by drunken teenagers. What a glamorous life I lead!
Although Battersea is a bit of a hike for me, I definitely want to go back after the wine list is launched. The fried sea bass haunts my dreams, and I haven’t yet tried their soft shell crab, which is meant to be one of their best dishes. There’s always their Shoreditch branch too though – which as I’m currently working in Hackney, is a definite possibility…