So we were doing a bit of a pub crawl last Saturday…well, I exaggerate a little,…well quite a lot really. We had a couple of cocktails at the lovely Loom in the city’s Creative Quarter and then schlepped over the road to Veeno for a glass or two before dinner.
Veeno’s is a pretty simple idea. Think holidays in Tuscany. There you go. Italian wine and nibbles. That’s it really. Veeno is a small “group” of restaurants, supplied by the founders’ own vineyard in Sicily and celebrates the Italian “aperitive” culture with a selecton of wines and typical Italian small dishes to accompany them.
We got to Veeno at about 5 ish on a grey, damp Saturday afternoon in the English Midlands. It didn’t feel like Tuscany, still less Portofino, so this place had its work cut out to deliver a Mediterranean vibe.
We were greeted by a fab and enthusiastic lady Front of House, who warned us this was not a place for dinner – explained the “offer” and showed us to the rear of the bar. The place was heaving. Not only did I not expect a town centre bar to be heaving at this time on a Saturday, still less would you have expected it to be so with this clientele.
The majority of the customers were probably, like me, of a certain age, with a good number of ladies that lunch…and it clearly works for them. Not only was the place pretty much full, it was also very loud, with conversations liberally peppered with references to Italian holidays, Palazzos, Galaterias, Gondolas and La Dolce Vita, suggesting that the wine was going down really rather well.
On the advice of our charming server we tried the a wine-tasting option, 3 reds for him, 3 whites for me, served on a handy wine mat with explanations of the wines. Very civilised, and a good way to consume three glasses of wine in one sitting whilst still feeling as though we were educating ourselves in the art of wine tasting. Ahem.
Our drinks were accompanied by Breads with olive oil, a selection of olives and later, cheese and charcuterie. And it was lovely.
The place was buzzing and it is great that there is a place in the town centre that caters for a slightly older demographic than most city centre bars, and the idea is perfect. I am not sure if it stays like that into the evening when the young team hits the streets, but for daytime it is clearly very popular with this group. Nice wines and small plates of delicious food. Good luck to Veeno, I think you are onto something. I can imagine I will be back with my own group of rather loud ladies that lunch.