Is there a finer city than London for passionate oenophiles? I hardly think so – London is bursting at the seams with specialised merchants, wine bars, globe-trotting sommeliers and grand tomes that contain every conceivable rare vintage, from Latour to Cristal.
This brings me nicely onto the Ten Trinity Square Private Club, which opened in autumn 2017 to great acclaim. Housed in the super-luxe Four Seasons hotel in Tower Hill, the club has already recruited over 500 members, all of which are happy to pay a hefty £3,000 for the privilege. But after my second visit in February this year, it’s easy to see why.
For it would not be hyperbole to suggest that membership of this luxurious and yet unpretentious club is essential for any lover of superlative food, wine and service. Let’s start with the décor, a lesson in luxury in itself.
The space the club now occupies was originally home to the Port of London Authority, designed by renowned architect Sir Edwin Cooper. Today one is greeted by an abundance of gorgeous dark wood – the walnut/oak panelling and high ceilings are very striking, and set the tone for what follows. On entry, courteous staff escort you along the colonnaded foyer, its long corridor wending its way through the club. Former offices have been converted to meeting rooms, cigar lounges, an art gallery, two restaurants and a billiards room. The atmosphere was one of tranquil elegance – ideal for those with high blood pressure.
The star of the show, however, is the world’s first Château Latour Discovery Room, a collaboration between the hotel and the famous Bordeaux 1st Growth. Members can access a multitude of Latour vintages, including the legendary 1982, which are all displayed in state-of-the-art glass cases complete with temperature control. Our group spent far too long gazing in wonderment at some of the world’s finest and rarest wines (I had previously enjoyed a tutoured tasting led by Jan Konetzki, a former protege of Gordon Ramsay’s 3-Michelin-starred Royal Hospital Road).
Of course, the finest vintages in the world are nothing without a good food pairing – Ten Trinity Square does not disappoint in this regard. Gastronomic duties are handled by legendary chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who runs the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, La Dame de Pic, downstairs. She hails from one of the most renowned families in France, earning three stars with no formal training. Naturally, therefore, our expectations were high.
I began with an exquisite spelt risotto with artichoke; playful, nourishing and yet inventive food that is so typical of Pic’s culinary style. Meanwhile my companion swooned over her Isle of Skye scallops “sweet, fat, perfectly caramelised on top and silky in the middle,” she exclaimed gleefully.
Roast Scottish lobster with chestnut taglioni was the undisputed highlight of a magnificent meal and lives on in my mind to this day. The sweetness of the lobster expertly offset by the earthy flavours of the chestnut taglioni – literally, a match made in heaven.
Equally as impressive was the main event – a gargantuan Chateaubriand steak, paired with fabulous fries. Perfectly cooked, the succulent flesh of the delectable beef was without doubt, the best steak I’ve ever enjoyed in London.
But what about desserts at this den of gastronomic heaven? Tarte tatin was splendid, all unctuous caramelised apples and caramel sauce, paired with a silky smooth Sauternes. Indeed, it goes without saying that wine is a constant highlight of any meal at the club – Jan is one of London’s top sommeliers, boasting an enviable cellar at his disposal. My best advice is to let him do the choosing. You won’t be disappointed.
Yet, for all that, it must be said that Ten Trinity Square does not operate in a vacuum – there are many excellent wine-centric private clubs and restaurants in London, including the always excellent 67 Pall Mall. Is this the best? Too early to say, but if you’re looking for an exclusive and sophisticated address in the capital in which to explore the world of fine wine at ease, then this is an ideal place to start.
Top 5 destinations in London where wine takes centre stage:
Best for sampling wines by the glass: 110 Taillevent, 16 Cavendish Square, London W1G 9DD
0203 141 6016
Best for innovation: 67 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5ES
Best for value and variety: 10 cases, 16 Endell St, London WC2H 9BD
0207 836 6801
Best for exploring the unknown: Fera at Claridge’s, 9 Brook St, London W1K 4HR
020 7107 8888
Best private member’s club: Ten Trinity Square Private Club, 10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ
020 3297 9330