Have you ever been to Shepherd Market? This little oasis of calm is one of London’s most charming areas. Located close to Green Park, between Curzon Street and Piccadilly, it’s very compact but its pedestrianized streets make it a pleasure to spend time in.
It was originally developed from 1735 onwards by Edward Shepherd, then used for the annual May Fair from which Mayfair takes its name. There was once a duck pond, a two storey market and a theatre here.
Nancy Mitford, the novelist and biographer, worked at Heywood Hill, the renowned book store on Curzon Street. The area was a popular residential choice for writers and artists such as Anthony Powell in the 1920s. Half Moon Street, adjacent to Shepherd Market, is where P.G. Wodehouse’s fictional characters Bertie Wooster and Jeeves lived.
Despite its upmarket ambiance, the area used to be a red-light district where ladies of the night would ply their trade. These days its an altogether more salubrious place. There are a number of excellent restaurants, as well as some interesting independent shops and an art-house cinema, the Curzon Mayfair.
The very upmarket private member’s club, 5 Hertford Street is also a popular destination.
There are a number of Victorian pubs and stylish eateries – one of the most striking is Shepherd Market Wine House.
I popped in recently for a glass of wine and some nibbles. The interior is very cosy and there’s a downstairs room that can be hired for private events.
The main attraction though are the fantastic wines. They’re available to purchase and take away or to enjoy in the tavern itself.
Since they use a unique system to preserve the wine, you can sample a wide variety by the glass rather than having to purchase a bottle.
The Coravin method was invented by a surgeon and injects inert argon gas into the bottle, protecting wine from oxidation and leaving the cork in place.
Ben Van de Meutter, Shepherd Market Wine House’s manager and sommelier, recommended a glass of NV Lallier Brut Grande Reserve champagne to begin. It had a wonderful biscuity taste with fine bubbles.
I couldn’t wait to try the ham, it’s a real specialty here and it didn’t disappoint…
The truffle infused salami was also a delight. We also enjoyed a selection of cheeses – a tangy goat’s cheese, a creamy and sweet Pont-l’Évêque and a classic Comté. This could well be my favourite French cheese, with it’s delicate nutty flavour.
We then moved on to a glass of Château Panchille Bordeaux Blanc 2014 with hints of peach and honey, before sampling an intense, earthy 2013 Chorey- Les-Beaune from Burgundy. It had a ruby red hue and fantastic depth.
It was matched perfectly with a tender smoked duck breast.
We finished with some very moreish macarons. I liked the casual vibe of Shepherd Tavern, and it’s a great spot from which to people watch. The square was bustling with local office workers, people on date nights and groups of friends.
It’s conveniently located ten minutes away from the other wine bar in the group, Pall Mall Fine Wine located in the Royal Opera Arcade just off Piccadilly.
Shepherd Market itself is one of my favourite London areas, a good meeting point for friends as you’re sure to find somewhere to eat or drink that suits everyone.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this virtual tour – have you ever been to Shepherd Market?