Nestled on the second floor of LL Tower on SoHo’s Shelley Street is the brand-new ThinkWine, a sommelier-led wine bar owned and run by sommeliers Romain Loroit and Jean-Benoit Issele, who saw a gap in the market for a serious yet affordable wine bar.
ThinkWine has a very welcoming feel, and you can see the detail and care that has gone into creating it (although there’s nothing wrong with a group-owned bar, this isn’t one of them; it’s totally unique and full of personal touches). The private room holds a large photo frame of old French menus and bills that have been collected by their family through the years. In the main bar, there is a huge “story of wine” mural commissioned personally by a local artist. Even the seating is personalised; the chairs are upholstered in a Christian Lacroix print fabric, and mini stools are dotted around, perfect for resting your bag.
If you’re lucky enough, you can take a peek at the stunning handmade wooden wine cellar, which houses over 3,000 bottles.
Beautiful bespoke wine cellar
Both Jean-Benoit and Romain live and breathe what they do, and their passion for wine is inspiring. For many of us, wine can be intimidating, but good wine should be accessible to everyone, right? So they are more than happy to help you to choose something from their extensive menu, which features wines from across the world, including lesser-known producers from China and Morocco. With one-third of the wines priced at under $1,000 per bottle and over 50 wines at under $500 a bottle, as well as wines by the glass (from $60/glass), there is something to suit all budgets and tastes.
Private event space
ThinkWine also offers a food menu. It’s been designed to pair with the wines, and the idea is that none of the food is cooked (they are not pretending to be a restaurant). Instead they have stocked the best-quality produce they can get their hands on, plating it on antique French crockery and letting the artisan ingredients do the showing off for them, resulting in a simple yet clever way of eating.
We started the evening with a bottle of the house sparkling wine, Domaine Berthet-Bondet Crémant du Jura ($470). This is a super-smooth Chardonnay, which I could have happily drunk all evening. We paired it with a plate of Baltic smoked salmon ($190/50g), which is topped with caviar, perfectly complementing the sparkling wine.
The Land platter
We also tried the Ibérico ham ($110/50g), which is sliced fresh to order, and the lightly spiced Ibérico chorizo ($50). Both were really delicious and went amazingly with the Domaine Faury Saint-Joseph Hedonism ($510/bottle).
We then ordered some cheese. The 36-month-aged Comté ($70/50g) really stood out for me; it was beautifully smooth and nutty.
To finish, we ordered a slice of the homemade chocolate tart ($100), which is topped with smoked sea salt and served with Chantilly cream. This was delicious. It was served with a glass of Mas Amiel Maury Millésime 1985 ($150), a sweet dessert wine. Stored in a massive glass bottle, it’s decanted via a suction tube. This was very theatrical and a great way to end the evening.
ThinkWine is fantastic wine bar with an immense choice of wines. It’s run by sommeliers who really know their stuff. If you want to expand your knowledge of wine or perhaps just want a glass and a bite after a heavy workweek, there will be something here for you here.
2/F, LL Tower, 2 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central, 2886 3121 (bookings are available for groups of 4+)
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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