Amongst the faded, down at the heel backdrop of Hackney Road, with it’s generic blur of dodgy shops, Sager and Wilde has blossomed like a rare, wild flower. Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde received unanomous praise for their Shoreditch pop up late last year and so the opening of this, their first permanent space, has been highly anticipated. Having only been open around a week, positivity has been radiating from just the very name, I’ve yet to hear the faintest negative whisper from those that have made it thus far.
On my Thursday visit, the bar rises above it’s shadowy neighbours, gleaming and winking with style and promise. While I wait for my friend to arrive, I take my favourite seat in any given situation, at the bar, a corner position to enjoy the light tickle of breeze from the open door and an easy view of the room. I cast my eye around, taking in the striking interior, carefully designed with some fabulous salvaged peices, it’s consciously styled without being too try hard, clean and stripped back but with glorious detail. It’s grown up, elegant and immediately apparent this joint has class, quickly putting me in mind of Duck Soup and newer sibling Raw Duck. A simple question “still or sparkling?” rewards me a heavy, London embossed glass bottle filled with sparkling water and a pair of chunky little glasses, very similar to what Quality Chop House do; lovely touch.
I admire the menu while I await my glass of house red, there’s no up-selling here, I’m told the house is delicious and easy drinking, I’m no wine buff so am more than happy with this. It really is, so good in fact, that my friend and I find it hard to deviate from and stick with it all evening. The menu itself is poetic in it’s simplicity, a lovely split of chapters that charts food and drink choices under transparent headings. The focus here is very clearly on the wine; fizz, white or red. A carefully chosen, constantly changing selection that is extremely reasonably priced, you really can’t go too far wrong, all are available by the glass or bottle, also to take away. In addition to the wine, there’s a short list of vermouths, beer and sweet wine.
Food is offered as a succinct and, again, well sourced collection of perfect partners to the wine; essentially meat, cheese and bread. A charcuterie platter is a stunning composition of meats; rich, sweet and savoury all at once. Having heard great things about the toasted cheese sandwich from last year’s pop up, we have no intention of resisting. It’s a beauty, not too heavy on the cheese, but a glorious toasted, oniony balance.
The bar feels evocative of classic, old school charm, I’m transported to a timeless age of elegance, a period magically suspended somewhere around dusk that transcends seasons; eternally, effortlessly sumptuous. A mixture of patrons chatter above a smoothly melodic and unobtrusive soundtrack as the blinds cast a soporific loucheness across the room in stripy shadows. Service has to be mentioned as it’s as gorgeous as the setting, a gentle cuddle of friendly warmth that rounds off the whole experience.
London’s (I’ve) been crying out for an exquisite little wine bar like this, I simply cannot find fault with it’s spot on perfection and am already relishing the thought of many evenings spent sipping delicious wines perched at that stunning, glowing bar.