Test Driving Humble Grape - Islington gets a long-awaited wine bar

scallopsDiver caught scallops, fennel, radish, Mersea Samphire 

What can you tell us about Humble Grape?

There are a few of them across London - in Battersea, Fleet Street and now Islington. Think of them as a mix of wine shop, wine bar and restaurant.

And this latest is in Islington?

Yes, it is. And as regular Hot Dinners readers will know, we're Islington locals and the news of a wine bar did get us rather excited (yes, it is OK to get excited about wine bars, trust us).

Sure, we have some great cocktail bars (Little Bat and 69 Colebrooke Row) and restaurants (Trullo, Radici and quite a few more) but we've been lacking a great laid-back wine bar. So this fits a gap in the market rather nicely.

roomA look at the room. And ALL THAT WINE.

Where is it?

It's on Theberton Street, which is about a five-minute walk from Angel, just around the corner from Galley. This particular spot has seen quite a few venues come and go, but we think this is a keeper.

Where should we sit?

On a sunny day, try and grab the tables outside. Just popping in for a glass? Head to the stools at the bar. And the room at the back with the sunlight if you've gathered lots of people together. Or grab a table in the front like we did. 

lambLamb cutlets - perfectly pink

And what kind of food?

First off are the nibbles, which are perfect if you're just in for a glass or bottle(s) of wine. After a couple of visits, our fave remains the lamb bon-bons - little balls of lamb goodness which we could have snacked on all night. 

Then it's a mix of small plates, cheese (from Wildes Cheese in Tottenham) and charcuterie, bigger plates and meaty cuts. We didn't try the latter - but the Caribou kid goat was calling to us for a potential future visit (£55 for 2-3 to share). 

Otherwise - our favourites were:

  • Diver caught scallops, fennel, radish, Mersea Samphire (£15) - because scallops mainly, but a very fresh summer dish all round
  • Elwy Valley Lamb, with summer greens and salsa verde (£18) - this is served as the cut of the day, and on our particular visit were very medium lamb cutlets
  • Eton Mess - mainly because it was a smash-your-own Eton mess. Which we approve of

messDiver caught scallops, fennel, radish, Mersea Samphire 

And how about the wine?

Obviously, it's one of the main draws. And you can approach it in one of two ways. There's a short list on the table of whites, reds etc, with the house Noble Savage Sauvignon Blanc starting at £24.50. And everything on this list is available by the glass (175ml, hooray!), carafe or bottle. Fizz starts at £29.25 a bottle and there's plenty of port, sherry, beer and spirits on the menu too.

But if you're going for a bottle, your better bet is to let the sommelier guide you over to the shop section and let you try something a little new, which is the tactic we took. We ended up with a Schwaben 2011 Rotgipfler (around £44 if drinking in). And - being really honest here - we had really no idea what that was before drinking it - but it's added to our list of things we'll be keeping an eye out for in future.

And of course, it's a shop too - so you can just pop in and grab a bottle to-go too.  


So Islington now has a proper wine bar. It's certainly made us happy - and if you're in the area it's well worth trying out. We'll defintiely be back. 

Hot Dinners were invited to Humble Grape. Prices are correct at the time of writing.

What: Humble Grape

Where: 11-13 Theberton St, London N1 0QY

Find out more: Visit their website