Top 5 Wine Bars
I remember a time when ordering wine by the glass meant a choice of white or red … usually from a cask or the cheapest bottle the venue stocked. Today it’s an opportunity to try a whole range of interesting drops from some of the world’s best producers. So I’m excited to see the 2019 Wineslinger Top 50 Venues list (which I helped judge) announced. It’s a guide to the best spots across the country where wine is the hero, served with a sense of fun and adventure, but the food is certainly not an afterthought. Here’s the five I most like to drink at (when I’m not ensconced in the too-tiny-for-this-list bar at Momofuku Seiobo of course!).
Momofuku Seiobo Pyrmont
Many a Monday night you’ll find me happily ensconced in the tiny (5-seater) bar at the entrance to one of Sydney’s finest restaurants. Sure I’m there for Paul Carmichael’s exceptional fish head with hot sauce and roti … but equally for Max Gürtler’s exciting wine matches!
Bibo Wine Bar Double Bay
This narrow space in unlikely Double Bay has a bright young crew of industry professionals, including sommelier Louella Mathews (ex-Rockpool) and chef Jose Silva (ex-Guillaume at Bennelong). From a lean skin-contact Clare riesling with moreish bean fritters to an old Madeira with Sweet Belem Portuguese tarts, they’ve got the goods!
Monopole Potts Point
The most understated of the Bentley Groups venues is actually my favourite. Perch at the kitchen counter or nestle into a banquette and enjoy Nick Hildebrandt’s wide-ranging, edgy wine selection (my current fave is Cantina Giardino Vino Bianco Greco) alongside great house-cured meats, fabulous seafood, and that smoked duck breast!
10 William St Paddington
Thank goodness the whipped bottarga pretzel is a permanent regardless of which talented chef is in the kitchen at this wonderfully chaotic hole-in-the-wall. It’s hard to pick a favourite match between Friulian pinot grigio with gnoccho fritto, spinach & artichokes – or swordfish, white beans & salsa verde with a boutique Beaujolais.
Dear Sainte Éloise Potts Point
Simple interesting food and natural wines are two of my favourite things … which explains why this is one of my favourite wine bars. I also love the vibe of their laneway location, the Orwellian twist in name and address, and their commitment to riesling!