So, you've swiped right, laid on thick your wittiest banter and secured your Tinder date — now you need to decide where to take them. Cured in Manly is the ideal place. A wine and cheese bar that's tucked away from the commotion of the corso, it's an intimate and casual place to get to know someone.
With bottles of wine lining one wall, a picklery in the corner and cured meats hanging from the ceiling, you won't be stuck for conversation starters. The concept for Cured may be simple — who doesn't like wine and cheese? — but their offering isn't something that can be replicated at home. None of the wines on their menu can be found in bottle shops and the Dad & Dave's beer is from an up-and-comer brewed locally in Brookvale.
While Cured has a New York vibe (they even boast their own jazz night) all but one of the 22 meats on their menu is sourced from an Australian family-owned supplier who has been operating for more than 300 years. Their only international outlier, the Jamón de Bellota Ibérico ($22) is a sweet meat cured from the acorn-fed black Spanish pig. Similar to the craft that goes into a bottle of French Champagne, this jamon must tick a number of boxes for it to be called the real deal.
Cured may not have a commercial kitchen, but they do have a chef who is on hand to help you select meats and cheeses that will complement one another. Every board comes with sourdough, olives and pickles — then it's up to you how far you take it.
If you're not quite ready to commit, you could grab a glass of wine and share an aged cloth cheddar and bresaola with your date. And for a bit of extra sweetness, throw some honeycomb into the mix. But if you really want to heat things up, try their habaneros.
A date that's going really well could call for a mix of meats — perhaps a truffle triple cream brie, burrata and a hunk of Al Malto D'Orzo whisky ($13-15), a semi-hard cheese that's been soaked in a whisky barrel for three months. For the ultimate pairing, save this for dessert and wash it down with a glass of Lagavulin single malt ($15).
Should you be lucky enough that the date ticks over to the next morning, stick with your formula and head back to Cured for brekky. Their Cured roll comes with your choice of seared bresaola, speck or pancetta, a sous vide egg, Japanese mayo, rocket, and manchego ($11). Whatever you do, we promise you one thing: a trip to Cured will mark the start of at least one long and serious relationship — even it is with a hunk of dairy.
Images: Richard Whitbread, Bridie Gough and Lauren Vadnjal.