Vietnamese gaff Pho, on St John Street in Farringdon, is doing just that: it’s eschewing a regular bottle of Cab Sav and is instead serving up glasses of rice wine, imported directly from Hanoi itself. The six wines (unique to the City, apparently) range from three fruit flavours – plum, passionfruit and apricot – to three traditional blends, which tip the scales at an eye-watering 38% alcohol content.
In reality, the fruit rice wines are the only sociable drinks, tasting sweet and warming at a much less intense 27% (FYI, around double the alcohol content of a glass of wine. Get twice as pissed! Result.) The traditional blends – coming in clear, red and dark – are a fiery as a shot of grappa and about an antisocial as one too. The poor PR that had accompanied me on my Asian wine tasting merrily chirped ‘I feel shitfaced!’ after two sips.
It would be disingenuous not to point out that this small restaurant, named after Vietnam’s national dish, is also a local lunch stalwart for the lawyers in the area. But really, it’s all about snarfing a glass of 40% proof booze and calling it ‘wine’. Cheers!