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Inner City Dining: The Wine Library

The Wine Library is the quintessential inner city dining experience – beautifully designed, absolutely packed and positively delicious. Its ambience is worthy of its placement in any Great Eat Book or Sydney To-Do List, and while you may wait (and wait.) for your waiter’s attention, the food and drink is always worth it when it finally does come to the table.

A derivative of the Jersey Road establishment buzo, all the food on the menu is crafted by the same man and, most importantly, tastes like it. The Wine Library is marked with a distinct European influence, reminiscent of any one of Italy’s charming wine bars with a just a hint of New York edge. This was clearly in architect Bill McMahon’s conscience when he started working on the interior, which includes tolix bar stools, backlit wall panelling and a wall-to-wall wine display. It’s a modern take on elegant, and if you manage to snag a seat, the atmosphere has the ability to make you feel much more important than you actually are. This is always a wonderful thing.

The Wine Library is a drinker’s dining venue, and one that should be taken full advantage of. There are more than 350 wines on the menu, all of which can be explained by the busy staff or “library cards” if you wish. We preferred a more eeni-meenee-minee-mo type decision-making process, but then again, we will drink anything. Nonetheless, the selections we chose at random were absolutely divine, and we’re pretty sure someone with a more refined palette would agree.
There is also a sweet little cocktail list for those in the mood for something different, or of course you can go for sangria if you’d like a mix of both worlds. Side note: a carafe goes a long way. It is most likely meant for two people. Only drink solo if your intentions are clear.

As my man and I went there for dinner (a rare occasion where we actually left our house and puppy behind), the evening menu consisted of a gorgeous selection of food you can try at home but will most likely fail to make as wonderful as only buzo can. We opted to start with a couple bready dishes – the toasted sourdough with ricotta and the toasted sourdough rubbed with tomato and olive oil, both of which were the ideal start (and probably helped soak the sangria). Then we moved on to the scallops with rosemary and lemon – simple and oh so satisfying – and the Andalusian chicken, leek & amontillado sherry pie, which had ingredients I may not entirely understand but worked absolutely impeccably together. As an American, I have always been somewhat confused by the pie movement, but no longer; you can now go ahead and call me Miss Chicken Pie, and you only have buzo to thank. The poultry was faultless, the pastry was light and flaky, and whatever else was in it was delicious. The witlof, gorgonzola & walnut salad accompanied our meal, and although it was a tad bitter, it seemed to complement the other flavours from our meal well.

Because we’re pigs, we decided to go for dessert, even though we probably didn’t need it. As it turns out, you should always listen to your stomach, despite what your momma told you. We shared the valpolicella & chocolate mousse and the treacle & walnut cheesecake, and our taste buds felt heaven. Both were rich and delectable, clearly made with no-frills ingredients and just the right amount of sugar. We left the restaurant incredibly content, and maybe a little drunk.

If you’re looking for fine food and wine with an atmosphere to enjoy it in, buzo’s The Wine Library should most definitely be on your Sydney To-Do List.

words: Seema Duggal


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