Category Archives: Small Bar

Mille Vini – a thousand times “Yes!”


surryhills2010 Rating;

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

Mille Vini's exterior

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.

Mille Vini interior

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.

Stuffed calamari with tomato salsa

Figs wrapped in proscuitto with blue cheese

Cheese board with honey and quince jelly

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.

Some of the wines on offer...

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.

Mille Vini

397 Crown St

Surry Hills NSW 2010

P: 02 9357 3366

Hours:

Mon 5pm-10pm;

Tue-Wed 5-11pm;

Thu 8am-11pm;

Fri-Sat 8am-12 midnight;

Sun 8am-10pm


13b – Hemingway meets the Great Gatsby


surryhills2010 Rating;

Vibe: 4 stars

Design: Ernest Hemingway would approve of the dark petroleum coloured walls, marble top tables and Louis XV inspired wall sconces and bar.

Food: 2.5 stars

Damage: what you’d expect from a hip Sydney bar; $4-22 mains; $15-20 cocktails

13b interior

UPDATE JULY 2012: THIS BAR HAS CLOSED

13b is a safe haven of heaven against the bridge and tunnel invasion on a Friday night in Surry Hills.  Formally known as The Safe House, it’s a small bar in the truest sense of the word.  It’s tiny.  Right now thats OK coz its still blissfully under the radar.  Something that surprised my pal and I when we strolled in at 8.30pm this Friday night with no booking.  You can imagine our surprise to find this charming little nook blissfully devoid of Homo Sapiens Boganis especially having just followed a mass pack of them down Riley St on our way to the bar.  And that’s one of the supremely great things about Surry Hills.  Around every corner, down a little laneway, up a flight of concealed stairs and through a non-descript door is potentially a golden little nugget of a bar or restaurant just waiting to be discovered.

Located at the hippest address in town right now, the triumvirate of Dr Pong, Commons Local Eating House and Pocket Bar, Burton St north of Oxford (Bur-No-Ox) 13b Burton St, Darlo is a wine-bar-cum-bistro intriguingly named 13b, of course, after its address.

Intimate coffee den by day, wine bar by night, 13b is pleasingly minute with a limited charter, but one that it seeks to do well.  That limited charter restricts itself to a small menu of mod-oz classics and a few whacky tapas style plates for good reason.  The kitchen is small and the experience behind the bar is really the key selling feature of this joint.  Cocktails both old school and new are really what sets this place apart.  With a sassy nod to the Prohibition era, the cocktail list reads like an F. Scott Fitzgerald  novel and takes in old classics like the Negroni, but spices things up by conga-lining it down to the Caribbean (Rum replaces Gin) with their original take on the martini.  On our visit, we worked our way through the list by starting with the Maple Rose (Maker’s Mark, maple syrup, lemon juice, with a rosemary garnish), tripped onto the signature  13b martini, a refreshing concoction of watermelon, kaffir lime, herradura blanco tequila, pomme verte with a hint of apple, until finally weaving our way merrily towards the Don Corelone.  It’s a testament to the power of this drink that I can’t actually remember what’s in it – rest assured, it was good!

a Maple Rose & 13b Martini

Personally,  I wouldn’t go to 13b for the food.  I’d go back for the welcoming and embracing Paris-after-dark vibe, the stupendously good cocktails and a smile from one of those hip bartenders.  Apparently the coffee is top notch and the weekend breakfast worth the trip, but I’ll have to leave that review up to you guys….surryhills2010 is onto the next hip joint on your behalf.

13B

13b Burton St
Darlinghurst 2010

P: 02 9356 8718

http://www.13b.com.au

Hours

Tuesday – Saturday: 7am – Midnight

Sunday: 8am – 4pm


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