Although I still mourn the loss of Krispy Kreme, 1855 wine bar is a worthy replacement. Slightly hidden in the Castle complex, the bar avoids the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and has a relaxed atmosphere, even on a Friday night, like the one we decided to visit on.
Upon arrival, we were greeted instantly at the entrance by a friendly staff member who saw to our needs throughout the evening. Having been to a New World Wine Tasting recently, I was eager to try wines that I recognised. The waitress kindly presented us with samples and smiled politely as we ummed and aahed over whether to choose the Riesling or the Sauvignon. Luckily, at 1855 you have the option of ordering a carafe as well as the usual glass and bottle options so in the end we settled on a carafe of the Sauvignon Blanc with the promise of ordering a different wine later on.
To eat, we shared the vegetarian board with a side order of olive paste and sourdough bread, followed by a cheese board with extra bread. The highlight of the vegetarian board had to be the goat's cheese and chilli jelly combo. The goat's cheese was the softest and creamiest cheese I have ever tasted and the chilli jelly had a rich smoky flavour that was pleasantly surprising. Add in the olive paste and the holy trinity of flavours was complete.
We paired the cheese board with another carafe, this time of the Ciello Rosso. The cheese board comprises three cheeses, quince jelly, onion chutney and crackers. The Manchego and Colston Basset Stilton were delicious; however, the Parmigiano Regiano was a bit of a disappointment, slightly lacking in flavour. The quince jelly was good but we were both still hankering after the superior chilli jelly.
It was nice that our fellow diners, or winers I should say, seemed settled in for the evening. In a bar that serves such great food, there was none of the fast turnover of tables, the rushing from restaurant to bar that you sometimes get on a Friday and Saturday night. The feel of the place also makes you want to stay a while, with its dim lighting and exposed wood.
The problem with spending so long somewhere, trying different wines and ordering little dishes as and when you feel like it, is that the price eventually adds up. Individual dishes are reasonably priced however, so you can of course make of it what you want. The size of the dishes and this style of ordering are perfect for having a few glasses of wine with, as nothing is too big or heavy.
I will definitely be returning to 1855 as there are more cheeses and wines I'd like to try! There's no need to book, just turn up, take a seat and settle in for a stress-free evening.