Although it’s styled as a no-bookings wine bar, everyone was tucking into full meals: a smart decision, because the food is terrific. The Josper grill sears colourful vegetable assemblies, the deep-fryer turns out a lip-puckering salt and pepper squid, and poached egg with oxtail was a triumph of texture and flavour.
Social Wine & Tapas is the best tapas joint I've ever encountered outside Spain...Only a madman would have eaten anything else after this feast, but, as a connoisseur of burnt cream, I had to try the crema Catalana. It was the best crème brulee I've ever tasted, seared segments of orange meeting blobs of orange puree on heavenly orange cream, all for five quid. For that alone I'd come back to this excellent two-storey boite of Elysian snacks, served up by a talented Frenchwoman who can genuinely bring you what Withnail once demanded: the finest wines in Creation.
It goes without saying that the drinking possibilities here are fantastic — the wine, obligingly always offered for tasting first, served in 125ml portions, rather than the super-sized quarter-litre doses now favoured for massive chardonnays and malbecs in pubs. You might even want to study the wine list online before going.