Sager + Wilde has recently changed its name from Mission, now taking the same name as the renowned and wonderful Hackney wine bar that preceded it – but it’s still the same great restaurant, menu and wine offering – hurrah!
Paradise Row, previously a super dodgy line of arches beneath the railway next to Bethnal Green station (formerly Prositute Central…!), has undergone a total overhaul over the past year, and now plays host to other great venues serving craft beers, cocktails and fancy sharing plates – and now this Californian wine bar and kitchen.
The owners are Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde, partners in both life and business, who made their mark on east London with their Hackney wine bar Sager + Wilde – the place to go for fabulous rare wines at reasonable (though still toppy) prices. This is their first foray into the restaurant business.
We were greeted at the door by Charlotte and shown to a candlelit table for two. The arched venue always reminds me of a pigsty – in the nicest possible way! – and here it’s been utilised fabulously, with a backlit wine rack behind the bar, wood panelled walls and a palm tree standing tall in the centre. The soundtrack was bang on too – band-of-the-moment Jungle could just be heard above the hubbub.
Looking around, Sager + Wilde appeals to the masses – lots of couples, lots of customers of my parents’ age, lots of hipsters! Something for everyone.
We ordered. Dishes were served at a somewhat leisurely pace, but I really didn’t mind – it just meant more time to soak up the atmosphere, and sip on short, potent cocktails served in crystal goblets – a Manhattan and a Negroni, a gift from our hosts.
Starters of Octopus & Pomegranate and a Squash, Ricotta, Kale & Hazelnut Salad were bang on the mark. My Beef Onglet main was juicy and bursting with flavour, with a small cauldron of cauliflower cheese on the side. Richard went for partridge plus a side of kale with anchovies.
We ordered wine to accompany our mains. The bottle list is lengthy, with pricing all the way from the £25 to the £900 mark. Instead, we ordered by the glass from the shortlisted menu that’s split into Red, White and Rare. We had two rare glasses, one of each colour, at about £12 each and served in glasses so fine and thinly stemmed I was terrified that I could feel it bending as I took each sip! Unsurprisingly, these guys know their wine – it was excellent.
It was Halloween night, so dessert was a very fitting pumpkin cheesecake – a hefty slice, with two spoons to share. There are a plethora of aperitif and dessert wine options too.
Sager + Wilde is the perfect date venue. We started with drinks next door at Mother Kelly’s “bottle shop and tap room”, which is always buzzing and inviting, before sitting down to dine, and it really was a lovely evening. Dinner for two with cocktails, wine, 2.5 courses and service was around the £100 mark, so save it for a deserving occasion where you want to impress!