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 Broadway Market’s own specialist bottle shop, Noble Fine Liquor.
The first in what is now a trio of openings (the others being Bright and 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.
Taking up the reins from April onwards is Jamie Smart, who you might have found thus far in the kitchens at St. John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields, London Bridge’s Flor, or the Auberge de Chassignolles in the south of France. His menu is currently under wraps, but is likely to combine influences from across these kitchens, with an emphasis on top ingredient sourcing.
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. They don’t take reservations, so just swing by and try your luck.
P. Franco | 107 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP | Last Updated: 28th March 2022
Like wine? Check out our guide to London’s best wine bars.