SYDNEY: Scrumptious tapas, delicious wine and over 30 different sherries – Daniel Chamberlain discovers a little slice of Spanish heaven in Circular Quay.
If the reality of your bank balance is getting in the way of that covered European getaway, then Sydney’s newest tapas/wine/sherry bar is the perfect alternative to your dream Spanish sojourn. Tucked away in a small laneway in Circular Quay, Tapavino will make you forget the usually bland tourist vibe of the CBD and instantly transport you to a Barcelona-esque land of cobblestones, culture and romance.
Walking in at Tapavino, you immediately feel the vibrant and warm atmosphere of the downtown bar. Its dark and moody lighting is complemented by an eye-catching wall of wine. The striking display features a huge range of the finest bottles from Spain and Argentina, including the only white Tempranillo imported in Australia. The Rioja red wine is highly recommended. It came with a complementary back story about Spanish harvesting from one of the knowledgeable bar staff.
Moreover, Tapavino stocks a selection of over 30 different sherries. Indeed, it is billed as ‘Australia’s first sherry bar’. As owner Frank Dilernia says, Tapavino is making the food-friendly wine sexy again. From the dry to the sweeter varieties, it is definitely worth sampling one of Spain’s signature bevvies with your meal.
The menu, like the wine list, is equally impressive. Prepare yourself to sort through the 50 delicious dishes on offer. Most are served in a traditional tapas-style – you will get the most out of your mini-Spanish holiday by travelling down to Tapavino with a group of friends so you can share and sample a greater variety.
The simple but spectacular warm Spanish olives with pardon pepper alongside mashed broadbean, mint, pea and goats curd served on warm bread are a great way to get your taste buds excited. For mains, I recommend the spiced lamb shoulder, pomegranate and yogurt, and the steak, mushroom and sherry hot pot, both of which definitely hit the spot.
The desserts were delicious – we tried the chocolate terrine with salt flakes and olive oil – but some may find it too rich for one serving. A cocktail at this point certainly wouldn’t go astray. Did I mention how good the drinks are at this place?
With authentic Spanish cuisine, top notch drops and a distinctly European vibe, Tapavino certainly dishes up a slice of Spain which you aren’t likely to forget in a hurry.
6-8 Bulletin Place, Sydney
(02) 9247 3221