Nestled just down the road from the chaos of Covent Garden is artisan shop-cum-bistro Champagne + Fromage. Understated in appearance, the place is furnished with reclaimed materials, rustic wooden tables and non-matching bar-stools. However, the venue's unassuming appearance and dinky size are deceptive; Champagne + Fromage is chock-full of foodie delights to keep you glugging and scoffing all afternoon.
The specialty here is grower Champagne — a variety
sourced from small independent wine-makers, made entirely by
producers in their own vineyards, such as the Waris Larmandier Cuvée Sensation, one of half a dozen or so bubblies available by the glass (ranging from £8 to £14). In the case of the Waris Lamandier, added charm is offered to the beautifully-balanced champers by the bottle design - the brainchild of the selfsame artisan who crafted the wine itself, it's a lovely touch.
All in all, there are 25 grower Champagnes to try, ranging from the surprisingly affordable to the extra special. If you're throwing caution to the wind, splash out on the Lacroix Vintage 2005 - worth every penny.
However, in austerity Britain, not everything need break the bank, and Champagne + Fromage seem to agree, judging by their food. A fantastic selection is available, including a range of tartines — a slice of homemade
bread draped in cheese and charcuterie- our favourite being furnished with Montbélliarde sausage with
Morbier cheese. Meanwhile, we attempted to scoff a delightful charcuterie board that would've easily satisfied four peckish snackers, for only £8. We'd also recommend the chocolate fondant with melting blue cheese (£6), which works far better than it really ought to.
Non-connoisseurs needn’t fret:
knowledgeable staff are on-hand to help pick both cheese and wine, and the place is small enough to really feel the benefit of the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
If you're particularly taken something in particular, you can of course buy it all to take home - a total of over 50 cheeses, without mentioning the charcuterie, pâtés, jamons, rillons and saucisses. If you're taking this sort of thing really rather seriously, they also do monthly masterclasses for keen amateurs to learn more.
22 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7DD