P. Franco is a wine bar and shop in the Cave et Manger model. It opened in 2013 on the site of a former Cash & Carry on a stretch of road dubbed “murder mile” in the late 1990s, and initially served simple cheese and charcuterie plates, before graduating to more adventurous menus. Now their chef residencies are a unique selling point. William Gleave was first on the carousel; since then Tim Spedding, Giuseppe Lacorazza, Giuseppe Belvedere and George Tomlin have rattled the pans to exciting effect.
The space is intimate, one cosy room with one large main table seating sixteen. Instead of a wine list there is a single wall of wines. Posters of past winemaker and guest chef events clad the walls and eclectic music plays in the background.
The wine’s the thing and natural’s the theme. Here you will encounter a cracking, changing selection of wines showcasing organic and biodynamic farming principles and minimal intervention in the winery. For all the seriously good wines it is a friendly place which aims to cut through the pretentiousness and mystique that surrounds wine.
As there is no formal list, the selection by the glass changes constantly and according to whim. However, there is always a fizz, two to three whites, an orange, a rosé, and a couple of reds by the glass at any given time. As they say: “We like to open what we want/what customers want at any time”. The pricing is extremely sympathetic and encourages experimentation. Customers may drink any bottle on the shelf – all bottles have a retail price - with a flat £10 mark-up to drink in.
This is one of the relaxed joints where the wine trade loves to hang out and where you guaranteed something special. P. Franco is a treasure and, if you are not a local denizen, worth the detour.
Producers we love: Le Coste, Partida Creus, Christian Tschida. Richard Leroy, Domaine de l’Octavin.
Look out for lesser-spotted: Aurelien Lefort, Frederic Gounan, Francois St Lo, Francois Rousset-Martin.
We really like: The frequent winemaker events, guest chefs, rotating chef residencies.
Do: Visit their sister wine shop - Noble Fine Liquor (Broadway Market).
Key wine person(s): Phil Bracey and Tom Beattie.
P. Franco | 107 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0JA