Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Zealand Wine El Dorado in London: The Providores and Tapa Room

Peter Gordon (right) and Michael McGrath (left) with Christian G.E.Schiller

The Providores and Tapa Room in London is a restaurant and a wine bar plus tapas bar, run by New Zealand’s star chef Peter Gordon and business partner Michael McGrath. The wine list is large and the wines are exclusively from New Zealand.

The Place

A hip place divided into a restaurant (upstairs) and a wine tapas bar (downstairs). Plus, there are a few tables on the sidewalk of Marylebone High Street.

Pictures: The Providores and Tapa Room in London

Downstairs is the buzzing Tapa Room, with a large communal table. Breakfast is very popular here, in addition to the selection of excellent tapas. Upstairs is the serene Providores, a classic dining room, where you order fixed-price menus. I did not eat upstairs, but I understand it is very, very good.

Pictures: The Tapa Room

A long classic wood high counter table stands in the center of the Tapa Room. So, lots of chatting with people you don't know. Einstein-esque orange light bulbs hang from the ceiling. And an enormous Rarotongan Tapa, or ceremonial cloth from the South Seas, is covering one wall, hence Tapa Room. Tapa cloth can be found throughout the Pacific and is used either as a decorative piece, as a ceremonial floor covering at feasts, or in some cases as fabric for clothing.

The Tapa Room is a lovely place.

The Food at the Tapa Room

Chef Peter Gordon hails from New Zealand and brings contemporary Kiwi sensibility to the world of fusion cooking at the Tapa Room, all done with fresh and typically locally sourced organic products. Peter is well travelled and knows what he is doing.

Here is a selection of the dishes he and head chef Christian Hossack have created:

- Pimientos de Padron
- Ginger and garlic roast pumpkin with Goat’s curd, grilled artichokes, cape gooseberries, black vinegar dressing, walnuts and sumac lavosh
- Crispy crab and tapioca cakes with Sriracha yoghurt
- Cyprus Lamb and bulgar wheat köfte with orange and olive salad, Turkish yoghurt and pomegranate molasses dressing
- Sautéed garlic snails on chorizo mash with Oloroso and parsley
- Twice cooked Middlewhite pork belly on massaman lentils with spinach and sambal bajak
- Spring rolls of confit duck and chicken, shiitake and feta with green chilli jam

The small plates range from £2-£14, but on average are around £8 and they aren’t that small of plates either.

The Wines

The wine list is almost entirely from New Zealand and has well chosen growers. If you do not like New World wines, do not go there. But if you are open to the wonders of the New World, your will find them there, right in the center of London. If you do not like wines from New Zealand, stay away. But if you like them, this is the place to go. I have never seen such a broad and deep selection of excellent wines from New Zealand outside of New Zealand. Naturally, the focus is on Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.

Here is the wines by the glass list. I had the Arneis and the Ata Rangi wines.


2009 Momo, Sauvignon Blanc, Wairau Valley, Marlborough 6.00
2007 Goldwater, Chardonnay, Wairau Valley, Marlborough 6.60
2008 Framingham, Classic Riesling, Wairau Valley, Marlborough 6.90
2008 The Providores, Sauvignon Blanc, Wairau Valley, Marlborough 7.00
2007 Trinity Hill, Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay 7.80
2006 Millton, Te Arai Vineyard, Chenin Blanc, Gisborne 8.00
2008 Coopers Creek, Arneis, ‘Little Rascal’, Gisborne 8.70
- Arneis is a white Italian wine grape variety originating from Piedmont, Italy. It is most commonly found in the hills of the Roero, northwest of Alba. Aromatic scents of dried herbs and nuts, with luscious rich texture. Well rounded minerality and a hint of citrus spice.
2008 Clos Henri, Sauvignon Blanc, Wairau Valley, Marlborough 8.70
2008 Pegasus Bay, Sauvignon-Semillon, Waipara, North Canterbury 8.90
2007 Pyramid Valley, Pinot Blanc, Kerner Estate, Marlborough 11.80
2007 Cloudy Bay, Chardonnay, Wairau Valley, Marlborough 16.00


2008 Vavasour, Pinot Noir, Awatere Valley, Marlborough 7.50
2006 The Providores, Merlot Malbec, Hawkes Bay 7.70
2006 Brookfields, Merlot, Napier, Hawkes Bay 7.70
2006 Brookfields, Syrah, Back Block, Napier, Hawkes Bay 8.10
2008 Trinity Hill, Montepulciano, Hawkes Bay 8.10
2008 Martinborough Vineyards,Pinot Noir ‘Te Terra’ Martinborough 8.70
2007 Ata Rangi, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Syrah, ‘Célèbre’, Martinborough 11.30
- Attack of blackcurrent, cranberries, ripe plumy fruit, with layers of sweet, smokey toasted oak. A fruit bomb, very intense.
2005 Hans, Montepulciano, ‘Secret of Marlborough’, Marlborough 17.00
2006 Pyramid Valley, Pinot Noir, Calvert Vineyard, Bannockburn, Central Otago 18.80

Pictures: New Zealand and its 10 wine regions

In terms of wine by the bottle, there are about 100 wines on the list, with a sentence or so of explanation. The bottles are in the BP 30 to 40 range with some wines going for BP 20 and some for up to BP 60. Here are the Rieslings from the list. A very interesting list indeed.


Framingham, ‘Classic Riesling’ Wairau Valley, Marlborough, 2008, 24.00
Juicy acidity with rich floral notes and upfront citrus fruits. Refreshing minerality and a long balanced finish

Bald Hills, ‘Last Light’, Bannockburn, Central Otago, 2007, 29.00
Scents of tropical fruit and lime with minerality and gentle acidity on the palate, medium dry with a long crisp finish

Martinborough Vineyards ‘Manu’, Martinborough, Wairarapa, 2006, 31.00
Rich, spicy complexity with stone-fruit, mandarin and lime, with just a touch of botrytis, a medium style Riesling

Pegasus Bay, Waipara, North Canterbury, 2007, 33.00
Aromas of ripe peach and nectarine characters backed by impressions of tropical spices

Fromm, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, 2008, 33.00
Dry with a nose of citrus, lemongrass and green apples. A crisp and elegant Riesling, with just enough residual sugar to balance the natural acidity

Waitaki Braids, Waitaki Valley, North Otago, 2006, 33.00
This wine has a lovely effervescence on the tongue, fresh floral and lime aromas, up-front vibrancy and assertive acidity - held in balancewith wonderful fruity sweetness
Waitaki Braids vineyard is jointly owned by The Providores’ Peter Gordon and Michael McGrath, along with winemaker Michelle Richardson (we also list her eponymous Richardson labelwines) and Steven Cozens

Pegasus Bay, ‘Bel Canto’, Waipara, North Canterbury, 2008, 38.00
Bright citrus flavours supported by impressions of passionfruit, tropical spices and Turkish musk. It expands in the mouth to become full bodied and concentrated, natural acidity and minerality give a dry, firm grapefruity finish

Pegasus Bay, ‘Aria’, Waipara, North Canterbury (sweet), 2009, 45.00
Ripe stone fruits, honeysuckle and lychee give the long silky textured finish elegance and poise. One of our favourites!

Peter Gordon

Peter Gordon is celebrity chef, born in New Zealand, who is now based in the UK and New Zealand.

He not only co-ownes The Providores and Tapa Room in London. His signature New Zealand restaurant, ‘dine by Peter Gordon’, was established in 2005 at Auckland’s SkyCity Grand hotel. I am looking forward to visiting the changa and müzedechanga restaurants in Istanbul, Turkey.

In New Zealand Peter has his own brand of chutneys and dressings, and co-owns the Waitaki Braids vineyard in North Otago.

Peter Gordon has also produced several cookbooks, including Cook At Home with Peter Gordon, Salads - The New Main Course, and Vegetables: The New Food Heroes.

He appears regularly on food TV shows in the UK and abroad, teaches at cooking schools and is involved in international food festivals.

The Providores and Tapa Room, 109 Maryleborne High Street, London, W1U 4RX

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