Vibe: 4 stars
Design: Earthy Tuscan rustica meets slick Sydney bar. Sandstone bare walls cosy up to dark wooden tables, low lighting and an exposed wine cellar. Warm, elegant and cosy.
Food: 4 stars
Damage: Entree: $12-$24 Mains: $23-$34 Dessert: $12 Wines by the glass from $7, by the bottle from $35
I have a confession to make. I’ve been to Mille Vini more than once. Forgive me father for I have sinned, many times. A thousand times? Well not quite, but I have frequented this chic hole-in-the-wall more often than is healthy. A couple of hail marys and I can be back on my sinful way, you say? Well sign me up and call me a Catholic so that I may once again worship at the alter of a thousand wines!
Mille Vini is one of those rare little delights that Sydney manages to cultivate seemingly out of nothing from time to time. With a solid pedigree that hails from those talented folk who built Pizza e Birra, Mille Vini is what happens when excellent taste meets authenticity meets demand meets surryhills2010. Seriously, if I were to design the perfect wine bar cum restaurant, this pretty much would be it. Great design that evokes warmth and sophistication without pretense, looking up from your Pinot Grigio you wouldnt be surprised to see Sophia Loren scooting past on a Vespa at 2 in the afternoon its so Euro.
Thats right, its authentic. From a miniature galley kitchen, the corridor that manages to fit no less than 6 tables, right down to its open air bar seats at the front, Mille Vini would not be out of place shoe-horned down any tiny laneway in Siena, save for the Aesop products inside ‘il bagno’. Sadly, unlike in Siena, it is more than likely that you will be forced to wait up to 45mins for a table if you arrive after 7.30pm on any given night of the week. Of course there are no bookings so your best bet is to put your name down with the staff and take a stroll down Crown St to Yulli’s to wait it out (check out my Yulli’s review in this blog).
As is the great tradition in Italian enoteca’s, wine is always consumed with food. Mille Vini does a cracking trade in delicious spuntini (bar snacks), antipasto & heartier dishes designed to be easily shared. From the stuffed calamari, Nonna’s home made gnocchi, the superb cheese platter and everything else in between, Mille Vini‘s deft and authentic Italian touch ensures each dish delivers a delicate yet flavourful punch with every bite.
But let’s face it, Mille Vini is all about the wine. It ain’t called ‘thousand wines’ for nothing. As you sit, literally surrounded by the colossal wine store and ponder its even more daunting leather bound ‘vino libro’, fear not dear reader, your humble waiter is not only a dashingly handsome italian with piercing blue eyes, but also a bonified wine expert. Yet another layer to the authenticity of this great enoteca is the fact that all of the staff are schooled in the breadth of the old and new worldly wine list and thereby well qualified to offer up educated recommendations.
It is my humble opinion that when faced with the option to go Old World, one should always take it. Thanks to this M.O, and Mille Vini, I have been introduced to some of the most delightful Barolos, Albariños & Moscatos with delicious results. Not that my liver really needs any further introduction to such temptations…
Mille Vini is the original small bar, but so much more. The perfect spot to watch the hipsters and fashionistas slink by, sup on some saporous food & wine and share in the good life. It maybe Italian for a thousand wines, but Mille Vini is more accurately ‘la dolce vita’, the sweet life. I’ll be going back for sure!
Loco Tip: Mondays you’ll be lucky enough to score my fave, the $16 pasta & vino deal.
397 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
P: 02 9357 3366
Fri-Sat 8am-12 midnight;