Friday, 8 March 2013

London to get two new cava bars

Aqua Nueva

A pair of cava bars are to open in London in the next two months. First out of the blocks will be the Aqua Nueva Cava Bar, London’s largest cava bar, at Spanish restaurant Aqua Nueva in Oxford Circus, which is due to open later this month offering 15 different cavas by the glass and bottle, alongside a selection of tapas.

Inspired by the rising popularity of the aperitivo hour in London, the restaurant aims to educate guests about the sparkling wine style, made predominantly in Catalonia in northeastern Spain. Among the sparklers in the line-up are Kripta Gran Reserva, made from old vine Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo from Penedès, and the certified organic Alta Alella Laieta.

Also headlining are Canals Nadal Brut Reserva, Augusti Torello Grand Reserva, Heredad Brut Reserva, Conde de Caralt Rosado and Privat Opus Evolutium. In addition, the bar will serve Castillo Perelada flights, offering a trio of flutes: Castillo Perelada Brut Reserva, Brut Rosado and top blend Gran Claustro 2008, for £19.

Camino's Richard Bigg
To highlight cava’s food matching capabilities, head chef Alberto Hernandez will whip up a daily tapas menu featuring dishes like seafood tartar with ajo blanco, and grilled cuttlefish with squid ink and alioli. Head Sommelier Zsolt Kismodi will host monthly Castillo Perelada masterclasses exploring the history of cava, the grapes involved in cava production and the ageing process for vintage cava.

Meanwhile, Richard Bigg, owner of Spanish restaurant group Camino, is to open London’s “first authentic dedicated cava bar” at Camino San Pablo, the group’s soon-to-open fourth site – between St Paul’s and Blackfriars. Bigg has been planning a cava bar for years, and considered it for his first Camino site in King’s Cross, though decided to open a dedicated Sherry bar, Bar Peptio, instead.

Rather than linking directly with a brand as he did with González Byass at Bar Pepito, the cava bar will offer a democratic selection from a number of different houses. “We talked to a few houses but in the end decided hooking up with one cava producer wasn’t the right approach,” Bigg told The Drinks Business.

While Prosecco sales are flying in both the on and off-trade in the UK, Bigg believes cava delivers more in terms of depth of flavour. “Prosecco is great but it’s quite simple. I think cava offers a lot more complexity. The general quality is improving all the time, and there are a range of styles and a number of different grape varieties to play with,” Bigg said.  

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