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Lilac Wine

The Mulberry Group has transformed a lofty Cremorne warehouse into a cosy wine bar slinging wood-fired eats and interesting vino.
By Libby Curran
April 19, 2023
By Libby Curran
April 19, 2023

He's the name responsible for the original iterations of Three Bags Full, Top Paddock, and Higher Ground, as well as well-loved wine-focused bars and eateries like Hazel and Dessous. Now, Nathan Toleman and his Mulberry Group team have spread their wings to Cremorne, taking over a converted warehouse for their wine bar Lilac — a sure-fire smash hit for sips, snacks and lazy feasts alike.

The building's concrete and steel bones remain, warmed with the help of mellow lighting and a snug corner fireplace. It's lofty and open, yet full of character.

Borrowing the same relaxed approach, Lilac's oft-changing food offering doesn't zero its focus too heavily on any one genre, instead pulling together a melange of Aussie nostalgia, Euro sensibilities and French bistro flair.

John Benedict Ryan

Group Head Chef Kyle Nicol (Rascal, Supernormal) has worked plenty of his own foraged ingredients and aged meats into the menu, alongside wood-fired dishes and house-fermented goodies galore. Think, crafty and creative, with a warm, generous edge.

An instant hit has emerged in the two-bite chicken mousse eclairs with black garlic glaze ($10), while other highlights in the smalls department might include savoury mince toasts ($12) and curds finished with fermented honey ($21). Be sure to spread some of the latter onto the puffy wood-fired flatbread that everyone's been raving about ($12). The house charcuterie is a standout ($26), as are the rolls of lamb belly elevated with silky carrot butter ($39), and the rum baba reimagined with pineapple and gum custard ($15).

The matching wine list proves just as exciting, especially if you've got a thing for organic and biodynamic varieties. Trend-bucking small-scale producers get plenty of airtime here, though quality reigns supreme throughout. And you'll find a solid spread of sake, spirits and craft beer to round it out — all up, leaning overwhelmingly local.

John Benedict Ryan

Tania Lee

Kayla May Photography

Top image: Sean McDonald Photography

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