Picture the scene (it won’t be hard). It is a cold, dark and blustery Friday night in Edinburgh. There is a Rangers / Hibs match on, an accident at the West End and utter chaos as punters begin their early drinking session. Phil and I are heading to The Wine House 1821 on Picardy Place and look forward to escaping the madness of the city for a few hours.
Escape we did. When we entered the doors of the wine bar, hotel, and lower cocktail bar area we both took a deep breath and realised we had stumbled upon one of the best kept secrets in Edinburgh. It won’t be secret for very long given the exquisite food, wine and attention to detail by staff.
Let me start by saying I am already a huge lover of Italian food and wine. Funnily enough, so is Phil given his family are from Picinisco, south of Rome. It wasn’t difficult to instantly fall in love with the atmosphere, food and decor.
The creation of The Wine House 1821 by restaurateur, Sep Marini, and one of Italy’s most renowned wine houses, Zonin Wines, offers guests a chance to experience luxury Italian culture, food and wine in the heart of a very Scottish city. Right up my alley!
The Wine House 1821 is located within an original Georgian Townhouse over multiple levels, opposite St Mary’s RC Church and the soon-to-be St James quarter. The interior is smooth wood – classic, modern, luxurious… The atmosphere is stunning. Guests’ soft chatter bubbles throughout the bar below four glamorous boutique rooms – cool, calm and quiet.
We were seated at the back of the bar in a cosy family-style table, allowing us to explore the huge range of wines and related books. All wines were mapped to show what type came from what region which was fascinating. An elegant couple next to us were wine tasting. A group of ladies were out for the evening – it was all very relaxed and civilised. Exactly what we wanted.
The staff could not have been more helpful. They asked what wine we typically drank and recommended a beautiful bottle of Valpolicella Ripasso.
The most important thing about the bar was whether you are a novice or expert, staff adjust their service to suit. We were never made to feel silly – simply educated on the bottle of wine in question and how it complimented our platter. We asked questions about the location of the wine and the Sommelier was a real Italian expert, despite being from Greece.
The food on offer covered a series of cheese and meat platters alongside some more substantial pasta dishes including lasagne. I say substantial… but this is the platter we ordered – the Antipasti Combo Platter at £19.95. The picture doesn’t do the size of the platter justice – it took us a good twenty five minutes to make our way through the stunning selection of meats, tomatoes, breads, vegetables and cheeses. Coupled with the wine, it was gorgeous and incredibly filling.
And of course….
The Wine House 1821 bar holds some 30 wines by the glass and 100 by the bottle complete with personal Sommelier to recommend. We were surprised at how reasonable both the wine and food were – the surroundings made us think prices would be high – not the case. The Sommelier knew exactly the type of wine we would love based on our favourites – the Valpolicella, which is an absolute treat for Phil and I – hit the mark perfectly.
The Wine House 1821 pride themselves on their welcoming atmosphere and that is the thing that struck both of us. We entered into a private part of the city where everyone knew us – or so it felt. It is a magical little place that Phil and I will use for many a future date night.
With thanks to the team at The Wine House 1821 for a complimentary sharing platter and bottle of wine for two.
Fancy more food and drink?