Patron’s bar à vin: a hidden French gem in Kentish Town
Patron Cave à Manger, our favourite French haunt in Kentish Town, has launched a new tapas menu at its cosy bar à vin, popular with locals and Francophiles alike since its opening in 2016. Fret not, you’ll still find their beloved bustling brasserie next door, with its classic French cuisine and live jazz nights every Sunday.
Beneath the restored EJ Evans newsagent sign on the trendy Fortress Road lies Patron’s newest gem. Step into the wine bar and feel yourself transported to a quintessentially Parisian épicerie from the 1920s, met first by the deli-style cheese and charcuterie counter, offering diners a peek at the high quality produce sourced from independent farmers and producers. Exposed brick walls give the place a rustic charm, enhanced by the wooden floors and candle-lit tables; the soft lighting is fitting for such an intimate setting.
Seating comes in the form of individual wooden tables and a long harvest table, the latter overlooked by their hand-painted wall art portraying a map of France’s wine regions. Trust Patron to help you discover the origin of your chosen wine in the most stylish manner possible. The bar’s décor is simply charming, with a shabby-chic mirror, vintage wallpaper and an antique fireplace adorned in chipped paint and ornate trimmings.
The tapas-style menu is divided into hot and cold plates, charcuterie boards and finally sweet treats, with the waiter advising us to order 2-3 dishes each, though we keep the menu on hand for when we inevitably want more. Drawn to all things cheese, our table quickly became its very own cheese board, with goods sourced from all over France.
The Baked Saint Marcellin, made with cow’s milk in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, is both smooth and creamy, a melt in the mouth dipping-style cheese accompanied by fresh artisanal bread and a perfect dollop of apricot chilli jam. Crack the rind with a slice of fresh crusty baguette and watch in awe as it bubbles over its terracotta pot, convincing you to order another within minutes. The Truffade is equally tremendous, combining baked rosemary potato gratin with melted Comté cheese. If you’re after cheese in its simplest form then tuck in to the slivers of Truffle Pecorino with rosemary crackers. On the vegetable front, make sure to order the Roasted Artichoke Hearts in a lemon olive oil marinade topped with toasted pine nuts and shavings of smoky Fiore Sardo, preferably alongside their sticky Merguez sausage, spiced to perfection and doused in a generous portion of honey.
If we weren’t so consumed by cheese ourselves, we would have been jealous of our neighbours digging into a pre-booked cheese fondue, combining Emmental Grand Crus, Meule du Jura and Gruyère d’Alpage with an organic Sauvignon Blanc. If there’s room for dessert (there always is), order the gorgeous Cannelé de Bordeaux, a well-known rum and vanilla pastry with a crusty exterior and delicate centre. Or continue down the savoury route and try their adventurous Onion Crème Brûlée, an inspiring twist on the classic French dessert which certainly pays off. Crème Brûlée fans will be happy to know that the burnt-sugar topping remains, only the custard is replaced by a mousse-like filling of caramelised onion.
The addition of the enomatic wine dispenser to the bar allows guests to indulge in several (or indeed all) of their finest wines. Become acquainted with their selection by sampling them in the 25ml or 50ml glasses, followed by a 125ml glass of your favourite. The option to order three 50ml glasses for £15 is a perfect starting point. We enjoyed the Domaine Huber-Verderau Meursault En Dressolles from Burgundy, a refreshing oaky-style Chardonnay, and the Chateau Le Pradey from Sainte-Croix-du-Mont in Bordeaux, a sweet white wine blend of sémillon and sauvignon blanc ideal alongside desserts or charcuterie boards. Patron also boasts an extensive menu, with wines divided by each region. What’s more, you can take a bottle home with you if it suits your fancy.
Patron puts on regular events and wine tastings, with owners Jean François and Tanzi involving the community in their personal venture. Ring in March by booking onto their Mother’s Day Bouquet Workshop and Fizz, an event organised by Mirifique Events in collaboration with Gail Smith Flowers. Both the restaurant and wine bar are also available for private hire, even offering the option of a private Fondue party for up to 25 guests. Sacré bleu, count us in!
For tickets to the Mother’s Day Bouquet Workshop, click here
For more information on Patron Cave à Manger, see here.
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