NOTE: P. Franco has tragically now closed. There’s no replacement, of course, but you might want to head to one of these other great natural wine bars.
Beer before wine, you’ll feel fine.
Wine before wine, however, and you’ll feel even better.
And on such occasions that you find yourself hankering after a little grape hooch, you should hasten towards P. Franco; the intimate Clapton wine bar from one of London’s best specialist bottle shops, Noble Fine Liquor. Particularly in light of the fact that their current resident chef is none other than Mitchell Damota. More on that below.
The first in what is now a trio of openings (the others being Bright and the – hopefully temporarily – closed Peg), P. Franco has been a local treasure for the best part of a decade. And like all good local treasures, it’s very easy to walk straight past. Parked opposite Hackney’s grandiose Round Chapel and sitting beneath a Chinese cash ‘n’ carry sign leftover from the former occupants, the only clues that this is something special are the slightly fogged up windows and the hum of contented chatter within.
By day, it’s a wine shop in its own right – the left hand side of the bar’s sleeve of a space is given over to industrial-style shelving stacked up to the rafters with wine. They specialise in Old World wines with an organic focus, and regularly fly out to meet growers in person – so to say they know their stuff is an understatement. Of course if you’d rather see for yourself before you buy, you should pull up a stool at the long, communal table plonked in the centre of the bar and ask for a recommendation. Each day, you can pick from about ten wines available by the glass, and they conduct regular tasting nights if you’re after a more in-depth introduction.
Given how much you’re going to enjoy their booze offering, you’ll need some ballast to go with it – which is handy, because if you turn your head to the top of the table, you’ll probably see someone singlehandedly stirring soup, slicing up fresh ingredients and juggling salads. This is where – equipped only with tiny fridges and a pair of induction hobs – P. Franco’s chefs in residence work their magic, taking over the pans for a few months at a time.
Currently at the helm is Mitchell Damota, whom P. Franco has poached from the kitchen of Shoreditch fresh pasta specialists Burro e Salvia (‘butter and sage’ in Italian, the name’s almost literally a recipe in itself). He’s promising to mine the lesser-known depths of the pasta world for gold nuggets that your tongue has yet to set its tastebuds upon – expect the likes of hand-rolled pasta stuffed with ricotta & fried courgette which are then lavished with basil, butter and provolone del Monaco; a serving of his 40-yolk tajarin, which might just be the thinnest and richest pasta in the known universe; and plenty of other as-of-yet-undisclosed dishes he’s hoping to roll out.
Consider yourself an extremely lucky guinea pig.
NOTE: P. Franco wine shop & bar is open Tuesday to Sunday, with food served Thursday – Sunday evenings (from 2pm Sundays) – find out more HERE. It’s a walk-in only restaurant, so just swing by and try your luck.
P. Franco | 107 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP | Last Updated: 10th February 2023
Like wine? Check out our guide to London’s best wine bars.
The Nudge is an independent, searchable and highly-curated guide to the most interesting places to go and things to do in London, giving members unrestricted access to our full compendium of continually-updated restaurants, bars, events, exhibitions, date ideas, itineraries, member perks, weekend guides, monthly agendas and more – all delivered via our website, email newsletters & members’ app.
Join us to see what’s hot in London this week; to explore all of the recommendations & ideas stored within The Nudge’s website and members’ app; and to start making the most of life in London today. Start Free One Week Trial