Lorne, from Maray restaurants in Liverpool talks about her Switch experience at Noble Rot, London.
I got the opportunity to spend three days working in one of the UK’s most reputable wine bars and restaurants, Noble Rot. I was a little nervous as you would imagine, but with my WSET level Two under my belt I thought I would be ok. Little did I know, I still have a lot to learn.
As soon as I arrived I was whisked to an impromptu wine tasting with one of the Noble Rot wine buyers. This took place in a small restaurant about ten minutes walk away, where we tried four wines from new wine maker Domaine du Pelican. All of them were delicious in my humble opinion!
Noble Rot’s vast wine list (bible) is an impressive 20 pages long, a very sharp comparison to our selection at Maray! Noble Rot "86" (take off their list) over 100 wines a week, this is because the wine buyers often go to auctions and come back with sometimes only 2 or 3 bottles of one wine. This means that their selection is constantly changing, which gives the staff the opportunity to learn about new exciting wines on a daily basis.
I was extremely impressed by the level of knowledge all the Noble Rot staff (Rotters) have. A few of them have worked with wine producers before and it was great to hear all their stories and to learn about their favourite wines.
Each bottle of wine sold is first presented to the guest, then taken to one side and opened away from the table. This is so that the server can try the wine first to ensure it isn’t corked. Only after the server has tasted the wine, does it get taken over to the guest’s table for them to try. Meaning I got to taste EVERY wine ordered!!
The restaurant serves French inspired cuisine, with traditional English influences. Featuring dishes such as Roast Partridge, Confit Belly Pork, Baked Rye Bay Sea bass. The dishes are paired to perfection with some of the wines featured on the menu. Their style of service is not too far away from how we run things at Maray, despite Noble Rot’s high end offering, their style of service is casual and friendly.
There is also a wine bar area which is available for walk ins. A smaller bar menu is served there, which again, has some delicious things, including Whitstable Oysters, although one guest told me I shouldn’t eat anything that faces The North of England… I don’t think he realised he was speaking to a thoroughbred Northern lass at this point!
At the end of each night all the staff sat around and we shared a different bottle of Champagne, something which I don’t think will work at Maray, but I will try my utmost to implement!! On the second night we played at blind tasting. They trusted me to go down into the wine cellar and within reason, choose any bottle of wine I liked the look of. We then all tried the wine and the Rotters had a guess at to what that bottle might be. One of the girl’s got it pretty much spot on, a “spenny Chablis, probably from 2015”…wow.
I have come away from the The TMRW's Switch with more wine knowledge than I could ever imagine learning in three days. A crash course in the world of fine wines! I would recommend this opportunity to anyone in the industry, as it has definitely filled me with enthusiasm and ideas I'd like to bring back to Maray. Now, back to Liverpool before I develop too much of a champagne taste!