Wine bars have a bad rep for being painfully bougie, but Humble Grape
maintains a laid-back ambience, and is clearly staffed by real wine enthusiasts. The Battersea joint is Humble Grape’s original location, and spreads itself luxuriantly across two floors. For wine novices and aficionados alike, Humble Grape is the ideal South London spot to channel your inner sommelier — just leave your Blossom Hill chugging friend at home.
Venue and Atmosphere
The staff at Humble Grape are super knowledgeable, and if like us, you’re lucky enough to be served by the charming Juan-José (heralding from Rioja - where else) you can be guaranteed a night of high-quality libations. The staff weren’t at all overbearing, and service is on the right side of relaxed. Staying true to its name, Humble Grape is pared-back, with candles and varnished cork walls adding some character. The decor isn’t anything to write home about, it’s the plethora of artisan wines on display that do the talking. A big tick for the double bass being plucked with insouciance in the corner.
Sure, it's a nice space, but Humble Grape let the wine do the talking here.
Food and Drink
Whether you’re hankering after some feel good mains (may we point you to the baked Camembert, £16) or a medley of seasonal small plates, the quality of the ingredients are top-drawer, and food is handled with a delicate touch. Our mid-May visit heralded the glorious start of the British asparagus season; the pan-fried asparagus with crispy hen’s egg and parmesan crumb (£12) was a delight — a touch more seasoning would have made it perfect. A standout were the Cantabrian anchovies with baby gem and aioli (£8) and the gravlax with beetroot, dill and horseradish cream (£8) made for an elegant appetiser. However, the gorgonzola and pear salad (£8) was definitely in need of some tweaking — the candied walnuts worked individually but not in unison with an already sweet dish.
Humble Grape’s carefully curated list of wines by the glass nods to much-loved celebs like Merlot and Chenin Blanc, as well as unusual varietals like Zweigelt and Arneis. The wines are all from sustainable, family-run vineyards, and if you’re curious, you can hear the story behind the producer of every bottle in the shop. The genial staff are on hand to make recommendations and will generously bring multiple tasters to aid in your decision-making. The Casata Mergè Parsifal from Lazio, Italy (100% Pecorino; £9.75 for a 175ml glass) was a real winner, evoking fresh lemon, mowed grass, grapefruit and sea salt. From the reds, Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc, 2014, South Africa (£11.50 for a 175ml glass) was a beautifully balanced medley of Black Forest gateau, tobacco and cassis.
If you do anything at Humble Grape, it's try the hen's egg with the parmesan crumb.
If you’re after a richly detailed spiel about biodynamic orange wine from Slovenia or just a quick recommendation for a glass of something refreshing, Humble Grape
has got you covered. Sliding comfortably into the midrange bracket, it maintains a casual vibe with a sprinkling of elegance. It’s not about to set the London restaurant scene on fire, but if you’re on the hunt for a local midweek haunt for some quality wine and nibbles, look no further. Naysayers may decry the winelist as pricey, but Humble Grape’s wines will leave your local boozer’s offering looking decidedly subpar.