Davy’s Tappit Hen? Sounds like a chicken-shaped friend of a lad called Davy. But it is in fact a cosy wine bar, and Davy’s Tappit Hen is one of the celebrated venues of a fifth-generation wine merchant. Wine has been the business of Davy’s since 1870 and they still choose and import their own wines.
The location of the Tappit Hen is just as historic as the wine company. It dates back to medieval times but was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London. The imposing Monument column stands just a few blocks away to commemorate that event. This is the City and the very heart of finance, banking and international headquarters for many companies. Guests at Davy’s Tappit Hen are local office workers as well as tourists.
Situated in the former London site of Sandeman Port, The Tappit Hen takes its name from the traditional 2.1 litre Port bottle. The basement floor is the characterful area for events and private dining, and displays the original brickwork of the wine cellars and even the hoist for barrels. Now there is an open kitchen, a large event space, and two private dining rooms seating 24 and 16 guests respectively.
The ground floor bar is welcoming at any time of day. Yes, they even do breakfast, but a nice cup of tea might be the beverage of choice in the early morning. The wine list is as impressive as one would expect from a celebrated wine merchant. There is a creditable selection of by-the-glass fine wine, taking advantage of the Coravin system. This is a gadget to enable the sommelier to offer the best of wines without actually ‘opening’ the bottle. This has caused something of a by-the-glass revolution and has enabled the cautious sipper to try a wider range of good vintages.
Modern British cooking is the cornerstone of the menu. We visited on Wednesday Steak Night and the place was buzzing with after-hours workers and a sprinkle of overseas visitors. If you are a meat lover, then this mid-week evening will appeal. All the meat comes from Donald Russell, who is my preferred butcher and, indeed, that of the Royal family.
One can order two steaks or a sharing steak, along with a bottle of Davy’s Claret for which one will only be charged £20.00. My guest appreciates a good steak and chose a fillet of beef aged for 21 days, garnished with mushroom sauce and a side of fries. Yes, undoubtedly classic but perfectly presented as pink medium rare.
Meat-eating isn’t obligatory and I was tempted by the lighter King Prawn and Crab Linguine with fresh tomato, chilli and garlic. This was a simple dish but done right. There was plenty of sauce, one could actually taste the individual ingredients, and the prawns were plentiful. Nothing more needed apart from some crusty bread for mopping the plate.
Flourless Bramley Apple and Apricot Nut Crumble served with coconut ice cream was our shared dessert, we being too full of ample mains to indulge in more, but had we had time to linger for another hour…
This little pud was another gem. The coconut ice cream really was flavourful. The apple filling was tender, and the crumble topping had great texture. This was a delightful twist on an old favourite and has given me some ideas for my own fruit desserts.
Wine at Davy’s Tappit Hen will always be a draw. Do try their volcanic wine selection. These aren’t wines that glow and flow in molten fashion, but rather vintages from vines grown on volcanic soil. These wines come from such diverse countries as Hungary and Sicily. Well worth trying.
Phone: 020 7621 1148
21-23 St Swithin’s Lane