A fairly new addition to Wapping’s High Street, Victualler offers a haven for the wine enthusiast, the perfect spot for a romantic date and a delicious substitute for a seaside lunch in east London.
Opened last year, Victualler is at first glance a bit of an odd beast. A shop as well as a bar, it’s hard to know quite what to expect from these self-proclaimed ‘natural, organic and biodynamic wine specialists’. The first thing you’ll notice if you’re not local is just how lovely Wapping is. On the two-minute walk to Victualler from the station you’ll be just footsteps from the river, and if you take a quick peek behind the restaurant on the corner of Garnet Street you’ll spot an actual beach, right in the middle of east London. If that doesn’t get you in the mood for a glass of wine, nothing will.
Victualler almost looks like an upmarket furniture or design shop from the street, with its simple, stylish front and huge floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, the entire right-hand wall is lined with wines for sale, but there’s no mistaking this is a bar, too. Along the windows several tables are set for drinks and food, and at the far end behind the bar is a more secluded and casual seating area. The whole bar has the feel of a New York loft apartment, with exposed brick, half-torn wallpaper, distressed wooden floorboards and mismatched furniture.
There’s a really relaxed yet sophisticated vibe here and it would make a fantastic date location. Take somebody to Victualler, order them a fancy wine and they’ll be yours. The staff are really friendly and like a chat. During the day – Victualler opens at 2pm – things are pretty quiet, which comes as no surprise seeing as this tranquil part of Wapping seems to sleep during the week. But in the evening it livens up as the after work crowd head out for a drink to unwind. Despite the simple, trendy décor, Victualler feels very grown up and actually a bit special. If you’re lucky enough to stop by on a nice day, be sure to grab a seat in the window and feel the sun shine through while you watch the peaceful street outside.
The ‘wine bar nibbles’ menu is rather short but the food is delicious. Try the chargrilled artichoke hearts for £4; you get a very generous portion and they’re really tasty and fresh, served with three toasted slices of the most gorgeous sourdough bread, which you can use to mop up the leftover olive oil from your artichokes. Also on the menu are wild rock oysters (£2 each), salted rump beef strips (£4) and a charcuterie platter full of locally produced meats (£15). This being a wine shop, dessert is cheese, of course.
Victualler has a huge range of wines and they will happily let you have a taste before you order or take a bottle home. There’s a bar menu with a range of affordable wines starting at £5 for a glass of Austrian Meinklang or Portuguese Quinta de Palmirinha. Then there’s the enormous ‘wine bar library’ menu with wines ranging from £19.99 to £80 a bottle. These are the ones you might want to taste before you go committing yourself. All the usual spirits and soft drinks are available too, and three beers are on offer: Kernel Pale Ale (£5), Kernel India Pale Ale (£4.70) and Kernel Export Stout (£5).
The Last Word
This is a truly lovely bar in a beautiful, peaceful part of London. Get down here on a sunny day and round off an afternoon of wine and cheese with a stroll on the beach, all while you’re just two minutes from Wapping station.