Canonbury is a pretty lovely place isn’t it? While walking from the overground station just as the sun sinks behind a four-story Victorian townhouse, we find ourselves thinking this is where one could settle down. The houses are amazing, the streets are wide and filled with trees and it feels like a village. It’s also where you’ll find Vins, a neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar run by Vinny Burke, who was previously behind Jago in Spitalfields.
Vins looks the part and behind the red velvet curtain reveals even more of a perfect spot than we’d imagined. It’s small, cute, cosy and we can easily see this place become a go-to for a ‘quick’ wine. As the name suggests, wine is central to the experience at Vins, where low intervention winemaking from small artisan producers is championed. With two reds by the glass, we tried a beautiful Australian red (Stella Luna Small Fry 2016) all the way from Barossa and a merlot (Sonoma Mountain Winery 2017) from Sonoma County, California. Vinny’s tasting notes litter the wine list, and Vinny himself is always on hand for extra advice, which definitely helps with the decision making.
The man in the kitchen is Emil Fyodorov, who was also at Jago with Vinny. The menu is small, simple and ideal for sharing with the smaller options like fried potatoes with aioli dip and pickles, and the bread and butter being difficult not to hoover up in minutes.
As the menu progresses, dishes get larger: the Taleggio sandwich is a perfect accompaniment to the rich red wine; the butternut squash and ricotta with hazelnuts and tomatoes is a perfect autumn dish; and the ox cheek goulash with orzo pasta makes for a satisfying, hearty main, as does the lamb and onions. It’s simple but perfectly executed.
Vins is a beaut. A perfect date spot, a fun, relaxed place for drinks and chats with amazing food and super interesting wine. It’s a proper good little wine bar this, and we can’t wait to go back.
93 Grosvenor Avenue, Canonbury, London N5 2NL