The Wine Library
The sassiest library this side of the Eastern Distributor. If you like wine, you'll love it here.
February 20, 2011
In an area once heavy on pub grub of varying quality the blokes from Buzo have set up a very sleek space. Tucked in next to boutiques at the Woollahra end of Oxford Street, The Wine Library melds a high top bar at the front, nookish intimacy out the back and a trim courtyard in the middle.
At 7pm you'd be hard pressed to swing a kitten. There's a queue that snakes out the door as locals and blow-ins from across the bridge cram in for their share of prosecco and a board of prosciutto, or a bottle of Super Tuscan and some pork and veal meatballs with tomato and cabbage.
Working backwards around the clock, at 5pm The Wine Library is civility defined. There's room to crook your elbows and make your way through a wine list pregnant with 350 options. Here are some more things to like: hooks for your handbag and crooks for your coat. There's Spanish pink that's dangerously affable for $30 a bottle and the wines by the glass come in two sized pours.
At lunch they get it just right. There's plenty of room to breathe and time to ponder the clipboarded menu which takes a jolly tour around some of the best of Europe. In sweet little jars there's pate softer than paraffin palms, topped with a vin santo jelly. There's the Spanish soul-soother of grilled bread topped with a mush of ripe tomato and garlic - the perfect foil for cured meats and a cheeky glass of Albarino. There are hunks of manchego, slabs of terrine and a fennel salad which is worth a trip across the Eastern Distributor alone. It's just shaved fennel, mint, a touch of parmesan, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Pair it with some of their wafts of cured ocean trout and you'll feel restored and virtuous to boot.
If you can't resolve a meal without something sweet, then you shouldn't miss the dulce de leche tart, an impossibly short, crumbly pastry base filled with the sweet gooeyness of caramel. Perfect to share and pick at with an espresso. Otherwise take refuge with a surprisingly dry and slightly chalky cheesecake that gets dressed up with a tumble of treacle. It's sweet and heathery - all in all, pretty heavenly.
This is a place that has very quickly found its sweet spot.