Thisweek’s Londoner is THE Will Smith. That’s right Will Smith, owner of Arbutus, Wild Honey and Les Deux Salons. We catch some words with the fresh foodie prince of London below…
Will you weren’t born and raised in London but how long have you lived here and where?
I’ve lived in London since 1997 firstly in Fulham but for the last 8 years in Acton. I had friends in Fulham so that was a great starting point but I love Acton, a little more edgy with an eclectic mix of housing and shops. The location is also excellently situated for the West Country where my family live and for access to the west end.
Working in the restaurant industry you obviously know your wines, where are your favourite places to buy wines in London?
I buy locally at the excellent Park and Bridge on Churchfield Road just around the corner from my home. A great new addition to the neighbourhood with an interesting selection and always something open to taste. Hedonism wines in Mayfair is an experience in itself, just around the corner from Wild Honey it has the most amazing selection of wines and also lesser known spirits (in particular some fantastic gins and vodkas), is a fantastic design and the staff have great knowledge.
The restaurant at the Tate has a great list with some old vintages at phenomenal prices so good for a treat. I love the Green Man and French Horn which has an exception list from the Loire Valley, one of my favourite regions with such amazing variety and character.
There are soooo many wines, but which is your favourite?
My favourite wine currently that I’m really enjoying drinking is Oregon Pinot Noir, in particular Soter Vineyards North Valley from the Willamette Valley. A cooler climate Pinot, softer in weight. Silky, good grip, a touch of spice and earth. This is a beautiful wine great with or without food. My wife loves it too which is always a bonus!
What are your top tips for ordering wine in restaurants?
Do take advice from the sommelier. Be clear about what your approximate budget is. Don’t be afraid to say no, if you’re not sure about a wine don’t hesitate to question it with the waiter and get it changed if necessary. Remember that the higher priced wines are more likely to have a lower profit margin so whilst you will pay more you will get better value. Avoid the obvious ie Sancerre, Chablis etc as the restaurant know these will be chosen so they are more likely to have a steeper margin
Finally what would your perfect day in London be…
Early morning jog to clear my thoughts for the day then the rest of the day with my best friend and wife Lynn. Breakfast locally at High Road House in Chiswick. A trip to Tate Britain followed by a stroll along the South Bank. Light lunch at La Fromagerie on Moxon street for superb artisanal cheese and charcuterie. A bit of afternoon retail therapy particularly taking in Liberty, the individual shops of Newburgh Street and the Conran Store in Marylebone for impeccably tasteful interior inspiration. Cocktails in the bar at Hix Soho. Dinner at Chiltern Firehouse. Exhausted Taxi home
Sounds like a bloody perfect day to us, we defo wanna hang out with Will Smith and drink more wine.