Sunday, 19 October 2014


Roman Road is one of the oldest roads in London, following the original paved road built by the Romans to secure their colonial hold on south-east England. It was the major trade route between London and the Roman town of Colchester.  And it has been all about trade ever since.
Although it has one toe virtually in trendy Shoreditch, the other is firmly planted in the East End, nowhere more so than Roman Road Market itself, with its fruit and fashion stalls, and eel, pie and mash shop.
However, there is a new invasion taking place. Just as the gentrification of Hackney was made visible by the arrival of Foxtons (heralded by some as the day Hackney died), Entrepôt, Lardo, Raw Duck; so too coffee bars and estate agents have been steadily making their way towards the western boundary of "The Roman," as the market is called in these parts. Now Vinarius (a suitably Latinate name) has made the first proper breach, a wine bar with scrubbed brick walls, polished wooden floors opening within the market area itself. It brings with it the language of the invaders: "artisan", "craft", "authentic".
It's just the place to drop in and pick up a bottle of small estate Italian or Spanish wines; or an interesting Hungarian furmint which proves to be dry, light and crisp with hints of honeycomb sweetness. There is also a good range of prosecco, as well as local craft beers and an Italian olive oil.
Or stop by in for coffee or a glass of wine.  Bottles open last week included a salty almond Pecorino from Abruzzo (so named as sheep, "pecaro" in Italian, liked grazing on these grapes), and a citrus / orange peel flavoured Falanghina from Puglia. Then owner Eugenio opened a bottle of fresh minerally, biodynamic Gavi. 
With jazz noodling quietly in the background and large black and white pictures of the real East End on the walls (by David Hoffman), it is a pleasant place to while away the time.
You can find Vinarius beyond the Polish Deli and the Eel, Pie and Mash Shop in Roman Road Market:

Vinarius Wine Shop and Bar
536 Roman Road
East London.

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