Noble Rot is a new wine bar cum restaurant from the chaps behind the wine mag of the same name. Based on Lamb’s Conduit Street, it takes over the former site of Vats Wine Bar and as it was always such a charming space, it’s nice to see they’ve done very little with the place.
Creaky floorboards, dark wood panelled walls, plenty of candles and a spiral staircase down to the loos so tight you wonder if you’ll be able to get back up, mean the place has oodles of character. A touch of background music wouldn’t go amiss though.
The menu is simple and reads particularly well. The head chef is ex Sportsman and St John Bread and Wine while the exec chef is the man himself, Stephen Harris from the Sportsman, which might explain it.
Starters of pork, pigeon and pistachio terrine (£8.50) and smoked mackerel, apple and soda bread (£9) were uncomplicated and unfussy yet masterful blends of flavours .
Jerusalem artichoke, accompanied with purple sprouting broccoli atop a brown butter sauce (£15), was deep fried and like little roast potatoes; pure crispy joy. Slipsole and smoked butter (£15) was again straightforward but so perfect you wouldn’t want anything other than the new potatoes to go with it.
Roast lamb and mint sauce (£20) sounded simple, and low and behold, it was. A simple roast dinner, but the best bleedin’ roast dinner you’re ever likely to eat. Chunks of pink lamb, crisp roasties and a mint sauce both sweet and vibrant (they serve the same one at the Sportsman and it truly is sensational).
For pud, a pear and almond tart (£7) was expertly made and the greek yoghurt cut through the sweetness perfectly. A warm chocolate mousse (£8) could have been a little warmer for me but the comfort food levels were set to max – give me a rainy day and a bowl of that and I’d be a happy chappy.
So Noble Rot really is very good indeed. What’s best is the staff all possess the sort of passion and enthusiasm you’d expect from the owners, which makes something already very special even more memorable. For those who can’t be bothered to shlep to Kent for the Sportsman, this the next best thing.