Friday, 3 January 2014
Davy's Wine Bar / St. Pauls
Who are they?
Davy's Wine Bar needs very little explanation; these guys are a fancy chain of wine bars in the same vein as Vinopolis, an establishment that has already experienced some page time on this blog. Like their rivals, Davy's try to lure customers in with more upmarket pub food before letting them loose on the wine list.
It never occurred to me to actually take a look into a Davy's Wine Bar before, being that I usually associate these places as the preserve of wealthy businessmen and people who actually like wine - personally I can't stand the stuff. That said, this particular visit was a team lunch for work and as the place was nearby, it seemed a decent place as any for some grub and to end the year. On arrival for a late lunch at around 1pm, the venue itself was about half full, with Christmas hats dotted around the tables indicating that we were not the only ones out to celebrate the season.
Strangely, their website carries no mention of the menu that we had on the day, which offers a beef burger and home made wedge chips for £10, whilst a modest selection of extras can be had for a pound a piece to customise your fare. As I had clocked some of the other tables' offerings as I was lead to my seat, I felt that the burger was no better or worse a choice than the other options available and opted for a bacon cheeseburger (all the better to compare it to others).
I can say one thing in Davy's defence; they are the perfect venue if you want a place to sit, drink and talk rather than eat anything. True, we were there to catch up and talk about what we would be doing over Christmas, but a fourty-five minute wait is slightly puzzling for an establishment that has been around since the late 1800s and was not helped by our waitresses constantly promising our food in ten minute intervals only to come up short.
Once it did arrive, one glaring problem facing me was the lack of "home cooked" large cut chips, which had seemingly suffered from instant anorexia. With little explanation from the waiting staff as to why we had not received what the menu promised, these slightly soggy (if quite numerous) catering grade chips were a big let down.
The burger itself was thankfully a better affair, with plenty of melted, tangy cheddar dripping across the patty and a couple of crispy strips of bacon criss-crossing the top of a decent bit of beef. It was clear that this was made of much better stuff than your average frozen pub burger, with striking beef flavours mixed with relish and salad to counterpoint the meat. While I was reminded of the technique employed by some places like Burger & Lobster (pile it high with bun and salad to make it look large), the proportion of killer to filler was just right here.
I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to visit a Davy's Wine Bar for a burger, but theirs is a pretty good try. When it comes to pub grub, this is certainly a step above your average Wetherspoons, but punters should not expect anything overly special here.
Again, as with Vinopolis, burgers are not really their main offerings but they do manage a solid attempt at a burger that is let down by exceptionally slow service and remarkably underwhelming chips.
Where can I find them?
Not the only Davy's Wine Bar in London, check their website for a full listing.