Test Driving Vins in Canonbury - the neighbourhood's wine bar

vinsA look inside Vins.

What can you tell us about Vins?

This wine bar has been set up by Hugo Thurston and Vinny Burke, who were also behind Shoreditch's Jago. Essentially it's a small neighbourhood wine bar, serving up a changing seasonal European menu. In the local area, it's perhaps most similar to Linden Stores (also well worth a visit). 

Where is it?

A little off the beaten path, it's right in the heart of Islington's Canonbury. If you're heading there, it's about a minute around the corner from Canonbury overground station, and around a ten-minute walk from Highbury and Islington. 

Where should we go for a drink before or after?

If you're just passing by the area, we think that Vins itself is well worth stopping by for a quick carafe and a snack or two. We can easily see this being a favourite of the locals. If you do fancy a pint, there's The Snooty Fox across the road or The Alwyne Castle about five minutes walk away. 

And where should we sit?

There are quite a few tables outside, and these should absolutely be your first choice (assuming the weather carries on like it has this summer). Otherwise, try to grab a seat by the window. 

What's on the menu?

VIns has a pretty tiny kitchen inside, but it's turning out a pretty impressive, short menu of snacks and larger plates. We think the small plates and snacks are well worth working your way through, while you're sampling as much wine as you can. Here's some of what we had on the night. 

potatoesThe dish of the night. Like nearby Linden Stores, Vins is knocking out a pretty amazing potato dish. These thinly sliced fried potatoes (£4) come with the kind of aioli that you wish they'd let you take away in a huge pot. Pop by for a glass and a plate of these and you won't be disappointed. 

sarnie2Top toastie action. This is the fried Taleggio sandwich (£5). Just order it the moment you sit down. Devour it and then order another...

hakeHake with spring onion, garden peas, fried potatoes and aioli (£17). Yes, the potatoes and aioli make a comeback here, and that's a good thing. Essentially their fish and chips dish, with very well cooked and seasoned hake. 

We did have a concern with the potted shrimp which was - although perfectly seasoned - a little on the small side for £7. That's definitely a dish that needs a bit of upsizing, in our opinion. 

Although we didn't try on our visit, there's a selection of three kinds of cheese and a couple of desserts once you're done with the mains. We've seen they've had a custard tart on previous menus, so keep an eye out for that. 

What about drink?

 It's all about the wine here and a shortish menu keeps things interesting. On the evening we visited, even with the truncated menu there were wines they were pouring by the glass and carafe that weren't listed. Bottles start at £25, but most of what you'll find interesting is in the vicinity of £35 and our Just Ciel from Roussillon £37 was a rather lovely tipple.


The area between Highbury and Islington station and Canonbury has been blessed with some fine - and varied - establishments and Vins adds another to the mix. A pretty great place to stop and grab a glass - and we'd say locals should definitely pop by and work through the snacks. We'd like another couple of plates of the potatoes now...


More about Vins

Where is it? 93 Grosvenor Ave, Canonbury, London N5 2NL

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @vinsrestaurant


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