LDNReview

Bottle + Rye review image
8.1

Bottle + Rye

££££

404-406 Market Row, London SW9 8LD, Brixton
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

In case you haven’t heard, intimacy is over. The practice of cherishing loved ones in private corners has been replaced with sending each other TikToks of an Italian greyhound in knitwear, and sweet nothings of ‘can you pick up more Imodium’ via WhatsApp. But sometimes our silly, little, base human instincts for things like true emotional connection kick in. And that’s when you go to Bottle + Rye, a teeny, tiny wine bar where knees touch, hands are held beneath tables, and stories are shared over London’s most sensational anchovy toast.

Bottle + Rye review image

On the edge of Brixton Village, it’s a simple, dimly lit setting that feels intimate. Not intimate in the way that your estate agent called that glorified cupboard an ‘intimate studio for young professionals’. But a petite slice of Parisian charm that’s perfect for sharing secrets between sips of a skin-contact moscato. Aside from a couple of high tables with wooden stools, most of the action happens at the dark oak bar that snakes around the open kitchen. It’s somewhere you’ll want to sit for hours, romancing or reminiscing, while picking at terrine and taking on the broody personality traits of a ‘20s Left Bank novelist. A sip of fizzing pet nat, a bite of saucisson, talking, more sipping, inevitably some kissing, only ever interrupted by the offer of another glass and the arrival of sharing plates.  

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The concise blackboard menu is designed for ordering a bit of this and a bit of that, with someone you like enough that you’re not going to mind if your cutlery touches. Expect some classic nods to its Parisian cafe energy, with moreish skinny frites alongside near-rare steak, and a deeply comforting bowl of haddock brandade. But it’s undoubtedly that anchovy power toast that you’ll return for. The oh-so soft, white bread soldiers get a honey wash, then a delightfully industrial quantity of butter is added, before it’s grilled over a high heat, and the perfect dose of salty anchovies are added. Like the space itself, it’s small and sweet, but never sickly. Really, it’s the ultimate mascot for a meal that’s to be savoured and never rushed. Intimacy isn’t over, it’s a night spent at Bottle + Rye.

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Food Rundown

Bottle + Rye review image

Cantabrian Anchovies On Toast, Fen Farm Butter

The anchovy toast has hit London menus like an Ortiz-sponsored meteor, but none quite measure up to this seriously buttery take. With each bite, you get a smoky charred hit from the edges of the soft bread, the sweetness of the honey, and the briney saltiness of the anchovies. Attempt to make it at home at your peril.
This is one of our Best New Dishes Of 2022. Check out the full guide here.

Bottle + Rye review image

Haddock Brandade, Pink Fir Crisps, Provencal Herbs

If you’ve ever had the sensational pleasure of having some serious dental work, you will already know that there is a whole lot you can do to mashed potato to give it personality. Case in point: this mild, fluffy brandade which is given crunch factor courtesy of some air-light crisps. The flavours are all pretty subtle, in a comforting way, but 10 points for presentation.

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Charred Pumpkin, Sunflower Seed, Fig Salsa

When we had this, the pumpkin was a little too tough. Luckily, the fig salsa had a warming fruitiness that made us forgive the additional seconds of chewing.

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200G Flat Iron Steak, Frites, Peppercorn Sauce

Respect to any peppercorn sauce that will give your nostrils the tingles. A proper melty piece of meat, where the charred skin provides some lovely smokiness. And those lightly salted frites will just keep accidentally ending up in your mouth. Technically for sharing, but you really won’t want to.

Quince & Fig Leaf Éclair

A tear and share éclair. If that’s not true intimacy, we don’t know what is. The almost nutty, vanilla fig leaf flavours are a delight. The sourness of the quince could definitely be considered overpowering but we’re into it, especially when combined with the rich pastry cream.

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