30 June 2017

Fiz Bar, Lights of Soho

My first thought when I heard that Fiz Bar, London's first sparkling wine pop-up, had acquired a ten week residency at Brewer Street's Lights of Soho was "...really?" As in "really? how on Earth did they manage that?"

I'm a big fan of Lights of Soho, having previously recommended it as a must-visit, under-the-radar gallery. I love, love, LOVE the neon lights and how the installations were based around a theme. So when I heard that a cool new food and drink concept had bagged the venue, it immediately appealed.

Fiz Bar prides itself on being the opposite of a stuffy, formal champagne bar. They want food and drink to be fun, social - and obviously, delicious.

I was lured in by the neon lights like a fly to a lamp. It was hot and humid that evening, and fizzy beverages beckoned...

We were seated at the bar immediately upon entering. Normally I' m not a fan of sitting at the bar, but it meant easy access to food - the chefs occupied our end of the bar, and the drinks the other - and it meant we could chat to staff as well as each other.

Our waiter, Jordan, was very attentive. Sometimes a little too attentive - we were trying to fill each other in on some goss pre-drinks, so we weren't paying attention to the menu at first - but he had a fantastic knowledge of the wines.

We started pink. As in, 'A Touch of Pink', which is a category on the menu. I opted for a Paternina Cava Rose ('Jam-packed with summer fruits), whilst my friend went for the Ca Di Late Prosecco Rosato (Super-light pink Prosecco with a touch of stawberry).

Prosecco on the left, Cava on the right

The good thing about fizzy wines, I find, is that they are enjoyed at a slower pace. Mine was indeed very fruity, but I think my friend's choice was a little more special, and a tad drier. Either way, we happily sipped our drinks.

Our eyes soon strayed to the food... The menu consists of sharing plates - meat, cheese - as well as little bites made to enjoy with others. We started with the meat platter, which is served on a silver tray, like so

In the board is pork collar, chorizo salami and serrano ham. We passed on the pickles, and enjoyed the thin slices of meat with what I'm guessing is a charcoal sourdough. I guess it made the meats taste a little more smoky? As a glutton, I will always say there could have been more bread... but there could have been more bread. Just sayin'.

It was, however, cut into lil bitesize pieces, which was handy.

Having whet our palettes, we moved onto white. My choice was an English wine courtesy of Balfour Estate called 'Hush Heash' (Queen of English fizz, dry and sophisticated), whilst my friend, always one to be different, went for Ca Di Rajo 'Lemoss' Frizzante (Zinging with notes of lemon and lime, unfiltered).

And more food, this time Smoked Trout.

Again, on a charcoal base. This was suuuuuper tasty, kind of like a fish pate. To an unrefined palette you could say it was like an upmarket tuna mayo, but that really is underselling it. Also, make sure you dip into the red stuff in olive oil; it's a sweet jam and compliments the fish really well. Yummy.

Oh, and burgers. We had to order those...

Our first lot were the shredded duck burgers, with pomegranate & cucumber yoghurt in a charcoal brioche bun. These were tasty but we both agreed more sauce was needed, for sure.

Yummy, but more yoghurt please!

I chose the pork belly burger the second time around - my friend stuck with the duck - which came with red cabbage & jalepeno slaw, crackling crumb and a rhubarb sauce.

This definitely made more of an impact flavour-wise, with a delicious sweet-sour thing going on with the red cabbage and rhubarb combo. Very, very good. This could have done with a *bit* more pork though. Maybe I'm being picky, here, but we definitely could have done with another plate or two afterwards.

Our final wine came highly recommended by Barnaby, one of the Fiz 'bosses' (to call him a boss seems too formal, he was such a sweet, chilled guy who just seemed genuinely excited about the project). It was called 'Black Queen', and is technically off the menu.

It was a black, fizzy Shiraz.

And oh my LIFE, it was good. My friend, who confessed to not liking red wine, was even won over. This has to be tasted to be believed. And if anyone wants to treat me, this wine is the way to my heart...

Oh, and we had dessert. It would have been rude not to.

Presenting the Chocolate Orange pot (left), and an off the menu special, cereal pannacotta. The latter is created by leaving sugar in a milky concoction so that the pannacotta literally tastes like cereal milk, then topped with granola.

It tasted like the milk at the end of your crunchy nut flakes. It was uncanny, and not unpleasant. The only issue was that it actually became a milky texture within a minute, which is a shame because I like the texture of pannacotta, but oh well!

Once the crowds had cleared slightly, I managed to get some snaps of the babin' lights.

Save water, drink champagne - or as Fiz Bar would say, sparkling wine.

Fiz is open until 16th August at Lights of Soho on Brewer Street. It's a good'un, trust me!

**I visited Fiz Bar in exchange for review, but all thoughts expressed are my own.

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