A review of The 10 Cases by Will Evered of BWI
I’m sure The 10 Cases on Endell Street will not be a new name to many wine lovers in London but I think it’s noteworthy. It’s a fantastic, intimate spot tucked away a couple of minute’s walk from Covent Garden tube. I usually avoid this area because of London’s worst tube station and because of the amount of people that pack the streets, but it’s towards Holborn so fear not.
Wine is very much the focus, the premise being that they buy parcels of wine, sell them through then get something new in. This is so refreshing in a city where wine lists are soaked in wines from large distributors who pay popular restaurants for list exclusivity (gasp!). Much like buying wine from your local independent merchant rather than a supermarket, you may pay a premium of a pound or two but the wines are interesting and different. There’s a great selection by the glass and a few high-end choices if you’re wearing your trousers with the deep pockets. Although wine is important here, the food is quite refined too. There’s a great selection of smaller sharing plates, salads, cheese, charcuterie and specials that change daily (and they always look appealing). I would always suggest booking as it’s not large. They do have a counter/bar which it great if you’re eating on your own. I wish more places had this facility as I know of a lot of people who don’t like sitting at a table on their own, but I digress. My favourite thing about this place, though, is being able to eat in the wine shop next door. You can’t reserve in there so go early. It’s so fantastic to have a meal surrounded by bottles of wine.
In almost every other restaurant you care to mention, you make your wine selection from the wine list you are handed when you are seated. Here, you can wonder around and pick bottles off the shelf yourself, which is an altogether more exciting experience. The only negative about this situation is that a quick bite can turn in to a longer lunch than you had bargained for! You will be faced with temptation wherever you turn you head, so be careful. I asked the patron what his focus was and he replied “good wine with some age”, a wonderfully simple answer that sort of sums up the place. You don’t need a wine list that arrives in two volumes or a menu with fifty dishes if what you offer is exciting, appealing and done well. In this respect, there is plenty of choice here to eat and drink. I will continue to visit regularly.
On a recent visit, some colleagues and I consumed the following…
2009 J.P & B Droin Chablis
2011 Guillemot-Michel Macon-Clessé
2006 Domaine de Baumards “Quart de Chaumes”, Anjou.
Black Olive Tapenade
Soft-shell crab with avocado salad
Fried squid with shallots (we had 2 of these because it’s amazing)
Smoked duck salad
Raspberry crème brulée
Definitely give it a try and I hope you enjoy it. Follow them @10cases