We picked wine bars as one of the top trends of 2013 and that looks set to carry on throughout 2014, the latest being a new addition to Hackney. Verden is coming from long-time friends Ed Wyand, former Senior Maitre d’hotel at Scott’s and Tom Bell who was Head of Public Affairs at Ogilvy Public Relations. In the kitchen, they have Tom Fraser, former Sous Chef at Scott’s.
According to Tom the 60 seater wine bar (with room for 25-30 more outside) will have "a strong focus on the trinity of Wine, Cheese and Meat.". We caught up with him to find out a bit more.
What can you tell us about Verden?
It is all about having some fun with quality produce in a stunning, contemporary space. From the outset we were keen to find a big enough site in Hackney and when we found this one, a corner-sited former public house, in such an exciting area as Clapton, we snapped it up.
Our goal is to discover unknown, undervalued or forgotten products. By balancing innovators with traditional producers we want to establish VERDEN as an informal yet sophisticated place to enjoy the best wines, cheeses and cured meats from around the world.
All of our wines, cheeses and cured meats will be available for our customers to buy in our basement deli.
Can you tell us more about the food and drink?
The drink will be eclectic and focused on a broad spectrum of grapes and grains. Beer will be carefully selected small production beers (sourced from local breweries) and some of the best craft beers from around the world.
We will work wine with suppliers and producers to support small artisan production. We want to be able to offer an eclectic but accessible list and will encourage customers to experiment with new wines. There will not be a focus on any specific country, region or style of wine but we will source the best quality and most interesting wines we can find and we will have an expansive list of wines by the glass.
Alongside this, we will have a handpicked selection of charcuterie and cheese which will be cultivated in our own maturing room. You can choose from house selections or create your own tasting boards (available at any time in the day). If you don’t fancy a board, there will be sandwiches, salads and soups.
And there will be a short evening menu - 3 main course dishes – that will change daily. Our chef Tom started his career working in kitchens across Essex before arriving at Scott’s 6 years ago. His style of cooking is honest with a sharp focus on the freshest seasonal produce. Some example dishes here could include Tartiflette; Suckling Pig, roast potatoes and cavalo nero; Skate wing, new potatoes and spinach.
At weekends it will all be about brunch which will run all day. Dishes will include Nduja scrambled eggs; Ham, eggs and potatoes; Lumpfish roe, creme fraiche and bllinis.
And what can you tell us about the look of Verden?
The interior,designed by Pippa Murray and Simon Lamason, has taken inspiration from the principles and traditions of Scandinavian and Japanese design. They have developed a high contrast, modernist aesthetic using crisp lines, clean surfaces and natural wood finishes to create a highly individual space which we are extremely excited about.
But their work has not stopped there. They have designed the majority of the furniture and key lighting features and recruited some of Cumbria’s best craftsmen to make the pieces.
Verden will open 10 June at 181 Clarence Road, London, E5 8EE. It will be open 10am - Midnight Tuesday to Saturday and 10am - 10:30pm Sunday. For more information, follow them on Twitter @VerdenE5.