A list of 400 wines sounds extensive but it’s only once a bible-sized tome arrives at your table that you understand the sheer enormity of it. That’s exactly what you can get at the newly opened Coogee Wine Room which showcases the best tipples from the Murray River to the Mediterranean.
Located a few hundred metres from the beach, on Coogee Bay Road, Coogee Wine Room fills a longstanding gap in the area. Previously, your choices for drinks were limited to beers at Coogee Bay Hotel or cocktails on a crowded rooftop at Coogee Pavilion but this newcomer finds a middle ground.
Whether you settle in at the cosy, ground-level bar or ascend the darkened staircase to its upscale eatery, the space has a buzz that wouldn’t be out of place in a European wine bar. The interiors, though, are unmistakably modern Sydney. Designed by TomMarkHenry, the brains behind Bistecca and Babcoq in Cronulla, the space has an industrial-chic aesthetic. Think polished concrete floors, marble fixtures and a peek-a-boo window into the bustling kitchen.
The wine list has been a labor of love for local owners Tom Hardwick and Michelle Morales and venue manager Brooke Adey. The crew spent six months curating it, based on favourites from cellar door visits, international trips and recommendations from friends. The result is a mix of vintages and current releases and an encyclopaedic wine knowledge from all the bar staff.
With such a mind-boggling selection, it would be easy to let decision fatigue get the better of you. But not only does it have an extensive list of wines available by the glass, punters can order half bottles of wine. If you can’t choose between the red or white, go with half a bottle of each and finish the rest later (or, if you don’t want it, the staff will find another taker).
The Med-inspired menu, designed by chef Sandro Di Marino (previously of A Tavola), is designed for sharing and wine pairing. The smoked hummus and z’atar with flatbread spices up an unfussy fan favourite and the main-sized, market fish in Spanish-inspired gazpacho sauce adds a surprising touch to the market fish. The cheese board is almost as eclectic as the wine, featuring a sumptuous French brie, bitey Italian pecorino, true Aussie blue and more. In other words, come for the wine, stay for the food and return for the experience.
Atmosphere: Sophisticated and warm
Best for: After-work drinks, intimate dinners, weekend catch-ups
Standout dish: Potato gnocchi with cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella
Open: Monday – Wednesday 3pm til late; Thursday – Sunday 12pm til late
Address: 222 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee
Phone number: (02) 9665 5478
Image credit: Steven Woodburn