Tapa Vino made i's entrance into Sydney's Tapas and Wine Bar scene in 2012, but this little gem is hidden away in an alleyway at 6 Bulletin Place, near Circular Quay and easily missed. Specialising in wine that you would least expect, sherry.
Sherry, once the unfashionable fortified wine we drank in the late 1970s and your Grandma's tipple of choice, has made a comeback in recent years. I remember having a small sherry when I was a teen sipped from my parent's copita glass. It was their routine on arrival from work while preparing the evening meal. After one sip you would feel a relaxing wave envelope you.
Sherry is made from white grapes and offers a variety of dry styles, from lighter white table wines to heavier darker wines that have been allowed to age in their barrels. Ranging from super dry to sticky sweet, there's something to suit each stage of your meal.
Dry sherry is actually the perfect accompaniment for food and Tapa Vino should be your chosen venue to experience this splendid renaissance of sherry. Their wine is sourced from different regions in Spain. Stocking over 80 varieties of sherry and at least 300 wines to suit all tastes and food pairings you really can't go wrong. If you aren't sure what to choose, then the very informative and welcoming staff will enjoy making the selection for you to suit the style of wine you normally appreciate.
Tapa Vino is now always buzzing with activity after it won The Sydney Morning Herald 'Best Bar with Food' award only 12 months after opening. So it is a good idea to book, especially if with a group.
The venue consists of two levels. The upper level is for bookings and the lower and outside alleyway for walk-ins. Personally I preferred the outside alleyway. It is slightly less rambunctious and I almost felt I was in Europe somewhere, while I watched the steady stream of passers by.
With the wine list almost singing to you and the menu making your mouth water, you may need a waiter to take control and order for you. This I did thankfully and I wasn't disappointed. I started with a nice Dry Oloroso sherry while eating warm Spanish olives with guindilla pepper for $6 , followed by my favourite - Crab, Avocado and Chilli Tostada (3 large tostada toast covered in mashed avocado, shredded crab with chilli) for $14.00; delicious and quite filling. I ate it so quick, I forgot to take a photograph - it was that good. After I paced myself with some water, t my next drink was a Oloroso sherry paired with Yellow Fin Tuna Cruda with crushed almonds and sherry dressing for $22.00. This dish just melted in a symphony of flavour as I washed it down with more sherry. You can imagine my legs were feeling slightly jelly like by this point as I was so relaxed. I had to sit through listening to a friend I hadn't seen in a year discuss her relationship breakup and I think the sherry was our much needed relaxant. We then tried the half seared Queensland Scallops Morcilla and Chilli cooked to perfection.
I couldn't fit in another dish and was slightly disappointed as I had eyed off another patron's Pumpkin Walnut Cinnamon Cheesecake which made me vow to return! Do try this great sherry bar out. It is a short 5 minute walk from Circular Quay or 15 minutes from Wynard Station. Keep in mind it is only open from Monday to Friday 12 Midday until 11.30pm. It's a good idea to book, especially in the evenings as it is really pumping with the after work crowd. See their website for more information. If you visit in the evening, you can make a real night of it. A short walk up the alleyway and you will find The Basement - Sydney's iconic jazz venue. Enjoy!