Kathrine Larsen-Robert MS: "The London dining and drinking scene will always be a dynamic place"

Photo courtesy of Kathrine Larsen-Robert MS.
Helen Arnold
By Helen Arnold
Published 04-April-2024
Interview / London

Star Wine List is delighted to welcome Kathrine Larsen-Robert, Master Sommelier, as our new ambassador for London. Originally from Copenhagen, Larsen-Robert brings a wealth of hospitality experience with her, having started her career in the restaurant trade back in 2002.

"I hope to put increased focus on the deserving London wine establishments, and continually add new places to be discovered by Star Wine List users," she says about her new role.

Larsen-Robert will join Ruth Spivey in representing the UK in the Star Wine List world. Ruth Spivey has curated the original content for Star Wine List and will continue to cover the wider UK. The Master Sommelier has also entered the Star Wine List jury panel for several events.

After moving to London in 2007, Larsen-Robert worked for Pont de la Tour, Skylon and the Orrery before joining Zuma as head sommelier, and in 2015 left the restaurant floor altogether to focus on working as a premium wine ambassador.

How would you describe the London dining/drinking scene at the moment?
"The London dining and drinking scene will always be a dynamic place, but the recent years have posed considerable challenges, from lack of staff, to inflation, and weakening of the currency, and as a result of some of those many customers are going out less than they used to, to save money. As such many on-trade establishments have been having a challenging time in recent years. The very top end of the on-trade, the Michelin stars and luxury hotels, however, seem as busy as ever, with new places opening up every other week at the moment."

Photo courtesy of Kathrine Larsen-Robert MS.

What are the key wine trends?
"Sparkling wine and rose wine have been hugely popular categories in the past couple of years. Also, producers or regions showing care for the environment such as for example having organic or sustainable certification, or displaying an ethical business, continue to increase in popularity. The 'low and no’ is also growing in the UK - people increasingly look for alternatives to alcohol when going out. The UK has always been a very price -conscious market, but there seem to be a growing trend for transparency on pricing, and customers increasingly want to feel that they are not paying too much of a premium on wine when going out, vs having it at home."

How much has it changed in recent years - and what have been the biggest changes?
"Many of the trends mentioned in the above have been the same for the past couple of years, at least since the pandemic. The biggest change without a doubt is that people drink less but better, and then look for either no and lo alcohol versions and perhaps then trade up when they finally have alcohol. The younger generations, for example gen Y and Z, are seen as less loyal to wine in itself as a category but enjoying many different type of beverages."

Five new London listings, selected by Kathrine Larsen Robert

Berners Tavern
Kai Mayfair
Sexy Fish London
Raffles London
Mount Street Restaurant

How important do you think wine is to the complete offer in London's restaurants and bars?
"Wine will always be an important part of the complete offer in restaurants and bars here. There is something uniquely convivial about sharing a bottle of wine together, which you don’t really get in the same way with other beverages."

What, in your opinion, makes a great wine list?
"A list that is balanced in price point and offer. But most importantly a list that is customer centric, which understands the clientele it is meant to serve, and which offers wines that are good value and drinking well."

Check out Kathrine Larsen-Robert's additions above - and all our London guides below:

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