By Katie Wilson

Humble Grape is more than a London wine bar, well a few actually, as they now have six wine-shop bar kitchens across the capital. They also put on monthly supper clubs that are well worth booking.

Usually held midweek, each month sees a wine expert from one of the boutique wineries they work with around the world drop in to pair their favourite wines with a menu the Humble Grape chefs create especially for that region.

Their ‘Meet the Winemaker Supper Clubs’ are even more authentic. This is because it’s the person who actually makes the wine, or is involved in the wine making process as it is imported directly from their family-run vineyard, that tells you what you are drinking.

Humble Grape Islington
The private room where the supper club is held in Islington. Credit: Humble Grape

We were invited to a supper club at Humble Grape in Islington for a delightful evening hosted by Militza Zikatanova, who worked for the world’s largest beer and spirits company before returning home to her native Bulgaria to run her family’s vineyard, Villa Melnik.

With a focus on sustainable, low intervention wine – like all the wines sold by Humble Grape – it was fascinating to hear how Militza’s winery is built over three levels and uses gravity as a greener method of production, with wine cellars dug into the sandy hill at the bottom that provide consistent temperature and humidity year-round. This also allows them to treat the wine gently, maintaining its natural structure.

Though it’s been voted one of the world’s best vineyards more than once, this modern winery only opened its doors in 2013 and seems to be paving the way for contemporary wine production. And if you haven’t tried Bulgarian wine before, we recommend you do.

Humble Grape Islington main bar
The main bar where you can pop in for a drink. Credit: Humble Grape

Our six-course menu also featured Bulgarian food, so you get to try cuisine from different regions too, as well as the wines, and dinner is served in a beautiful private dining room at the back of the restaurant. First up was a traditional Banista, a delicious filo pastry with cheese and leak and served with a crisp glass of Bergule Viognier Chardonnay. This was followed by a tasty Katak, roasted red pepper dip, and breads paired with an Aplauz Rose.

Pork Belly with a sticky orange glaze and buttermilk slaw was next with the Villa Melnik Orange Wine. I’m not usually a fan of orange wines, but this one was a paler colour and more comparable to white. My favourite wine of the night, a Bergule Red Cuvee, was then served with my favourite dish of the night, Short Rib Croquette with rocket and balsamic. Lamb Meatballs with couscous and mint yoghurt was equally swiftly devoured accompanied by a glass of the Aplauz Melnik 55 Reserve, another favourite wine of the night. Pudding was a Chocolate Fondant and chantilly cream with a very moreish Sweet Barrel Aged dessert wine.

It was a great way to spend a few hours on a Wednesday evening, eating amazing food, drinking delicious wines you can buy to take home after should you want to – we even made friends with the three people sat next to us, as everyone is sat on one long table.

It’s incredible to think that Humble Grape began back in 2009 as a man on a bike (founder James Dawson) going around London hosting wine tastings at various pop up spaces, all while holding down a job in the City.

Fast forward 15 years and it’s one of London’s best wine bars. In addition to the original Humble Grape in Battersea Rise, you can now get your Humble Grape fix in Islington, Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street, Fleet Street and the newest, Crouch End. The next supper clubs are from South Africa in May and France’s Rhône Valley in June, but they run regularly. Keep an eye out for the latest wine tastings events at Humble Grape here.

Supper club tickets with a six-course meal and wine pairing are £99 (usually held at the Battersea and Islington restaurants)

They also run cheaper Wine Tasting events and have just introduced a £5 a glass Wine O’Clock offer from 5pm to 6pm Monday to Friday at selected Humble Grape bars

Book a table or tasting at Humble Grape

Read more: How to drink wine like an expert

Read more: The UK’s best indie online wine shops

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