Test Driving Porte Noire - Idris Elba's wine bar in King's Cross

porte noir idris elba wine bar review king's cross londonPorte Noire is full of cosy corners to pull up a chair and enjoy a glass of good wine.

Wait, Idris Elba has a wine bar?

He does. Having wet his feet in the bar world with The Parrot bar at The Waldorf in London (now closed) the actor went into partnership with the founder of Connaught Wine Cellars, David Farber. Porte Noire wines make their own Champagne and Provence rosé and now the pair have got a bar to serve it in.

Where exactly is it?

Good question - they were still having issues with Google maps on our visit a few weeks back so it can be a bit tricky to locate. You'll find it at the base of Gasholder 10 - one of the former giant gasholder structures by the canal at King's Cross. If you're walking from the station, come up through Coal Drops Yard, walk past the terrace at Parrillan (outside Barrafina) and you'll find it just beyond that.

What's the layout like?

They've been pretty inventive with the space here. There's the main dining room which is bookable, with various other tables and spaces dotted around the wine shop for walk-ins. So you might be sitting beside the wine wall, or on stools around a barrel. If you fancy going the whole hog, there's a private wine tasting room too where they can arrange bespoke tastings for small groups.

porte noir idris elba wine bar review king's cross londonGet up close and personal with the wines

What should we start with?

There's a nice looking cocktail list with a titular drink made with Hima vodka and Champagne and garnished with a hibiscus flower. That seemed pretty popular when we went. But we opted for a more classic start to the evening.

porte noir idris elba wine bar review king's cross londonStart with the bar's own label wines with a glass of Porte Noire “Petite Porte” Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (£10.80).

And the menu?

The bar was just in the process of welcoming a new head chef to the team when we visited, so the menu was limited to charcuterie boards and daily specials. Gustavo Hugo Giallonardo trained under Richard Corrigan and Jean Cristophe Novelli and comes here via The Jones Family Project and the bars Oriole, Swift and Nightjar.

Here's what we had on the night:

porte noir idris elba wine bar review king's cross londonMixed platter of cheese and cured meats including Baron Bigod and coppa for £25. If you're just popping in for a glass or two of wine, then this would more than suffice for two people. We particularly liked the Gewurztraminer wine jelly it came with.

porte noir idris elba wine bar review king's cross londonGoose terrine with cornichons and sourdough (£11)

porte noir idris elba wine bar review king's cross londonMushroom arancini with aioli (£11.50) - maybe not the best arancini out there, but certainly good at soaking up the alcohol.

Room for dessert?

There certainly was and while we'd recommend ordering a glass of dessert wine - ours was an amazing Macvin du Jura from Domaine Rolet - and these.

porte noir idris elba wine bar review king's cross londonThe Cafe Gourmand selection from Laduree was particularly good. You could have this with a coffee (£12.50) or do as we did and accompany it with a glass of Macvin du Jura fortified dessert wine from Domaine Rolet.

Presumably, the wine list is worth hitting up?

It is indeed. It's also pretty reasonable with a nice selection of wines on tap served by the 125ml glass and 375ml jug and starting at under £6 for a glass. The list of 800 bins was curated by Idris's business partner David and if you really like something you can always buy a bottle to take home with you.

A look inside:

Here's more of Porte Noire (and a glimpse of Idris there too)


We had to try wine bar Porte Noire - it’s part owned by Idris Elba. ##londonlife ##kingscross ##winebarbutcherblock

♬ Fudge - Idris Elba & Eliza Legzdina

Overall thoughts:

This custom-built wine bar manages to attract a crowd not only because of the A-lister involved but because this is a very good - dare we say it -  grown-up wine bar. It's already very popular with locals, thrilled to have it on their doorsteps, but very much worth seeking out if you're looking for somewhere good to drink near King's Cross or St Pancras.


More about Porte Noire

Where is it? Unit A Gasholder 10, 1 Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4BY

How to book: Book online

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @portenoirewines.

Hot Dinners were guests of Porte Noire. Prices are correct at the time of publication. 


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