Time Out (Sydney) - - FOOD & DRINK -


a guar­an­teed fun time used to be? Smash­ing wines and Ital­ian snacks at 121BC. You know what’s still fun? Smash­ing a slightly more in­ter­na­tional wine list and snacks at Wyno, the same-same-but-dif­fer­ent wine bar where 121BC used to be. The Porteño crew, whose Ar­gen­tinean restau­rant is on the ad­join­ing street, took over the beloved wine bar and hon­estly, the only change is that there’s less Ital­ian stuff on the menu. Oh, and they gave the state­ment lamp­shade to a staff mem­ber who has hung it in their bed­room. That sin­gle, red-tiled ta­ble still takes up the ma­jor­ity of the floorspace. Zip­ping along the edges is venue man­ager Gavin Wright and the Porteño group’s wine guru Joe Valore, pour­ing out glasses of Gradiz­zolo le Am­fore, a Bolog­nian wild fer­ment wine aged in earth­en­ware pots. Its ox­i­dised grip­pi­ness grabs you by the lapels on the first sip, but by the third you’ve set­tled into a de­li­cious rhythm with this savoury drop. There’re still a lot of Ital­ian ac­cents on the wine list, but the snacks list is a pick’n’mix of in­flu­ences that mostly fall un­der the sub­head­ing of Salty and Rich. Little plates of roasted peanuts and ex­tra crunchy, ex­tra fatty pork belly crack­lings will keep rest­less fin­gers busy, and the slightly sweet fo­cac­cia, charred on the top and plumbed with sweet wells of roasted grapes, comes with spread­able lardo for a con­fus­ing cake/bread sit­u­a­tion that could al­most pass as a dessert. Un­like at Porteño, meat is not the fo­cus here. You’re get­ting seafood in star­ring roles, like a sweet little tin of grilled sar­dines lav­ished with but­ter and match­stick-thin fries, or the im­pos­si­bly silky seafood sausages from LP’s Qual­ity Meats. They’re weird but good, with an ex­tra soft frank­furter tex­ture made from flat­head fil­lets, span­ner crab, tar­ragon and cream. They’re served un­der a thatch of spaghetti sprin­kled with fish roe so that you get an ocean pop­ping candy ef­fect as you eat. There’s even a ragù on the menu that’s made from oc­to­pus. This is the kind of place where it pays to let your­self get talked into things, like the Her­mit Ram sau­vi­gnon blanc from NZ that is the op­po­site of what you ex­pect: it’s fer­mented on skins and has a rounded salti­ness to it – no pas­sion­fruit cit­rus bite here. An or­ganic Aus­trian grape called Blaufränkisch re­sults in a mighty fine red that paints a pic­ture of hik­ing up a rocky, for­est slope with pep­per, stone, earth and tiny flo­ral highs.

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