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Almost Paris: Ash Street Cellar

Tucked away in a side street in the middle of the Sydney CBD, you will find a little gem called Ash Street Cellar. This wine bar and bistro could easily be mistaken for belonging to a street scene in Paris, with its neat rows of wooden arch backed chairs nuzzled against the tiny round tables on “the street” and earthy matching decor inside- all with a view of the rustic looking open kitchen.

As my guest and I were seated, our incredibly affable waiter offered us some bread. Frankly he lost me at sourdough while he was listing the options, so I was all for it. He announced its arrival by letting us know that he liked to call their selection of breads, a “breadley”. Kudos need to be given for making me laugh out louder than socially acceptable at such venues. I love a good pun.

Ash Street Cellar’s wine menu is extensive and impressive, even to the keenest wine buff, but what I love most about it is that they divide the list by descriptions of taste and style, rather than just varietals. So you can go straight to “light, dry and citrusy” or “medium weight with velvety texture” depending on your preference. We opted for a Carrick Pinot Noir from Otago in NZ and it was scrumptious.

The food is designed for sharing and we opted for White Anchovies on Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes, Juniper Spiced Venison with Pickled Pear Witlof and Lamb Cutlets with Cauliflower and Salsa Verde. Each dish was perfectly balanced so as to taste all the ingredients but a special mention needs to go to that cauliflower. I could have just had a bowl of that to go with my pinot and been extremely well sated. Anyone who can make unassuming cauliflower the hero amongst all that deserves a high five!

Our waiter convinced us to try the Ricotta Pannacotta with Marsala Caramel Grapes and I am glad he did. The pannacotta was incredibly rich yet the ricotta made it quite delicate at the same time. The marsala caramel provided an edge of bitterness to cut the creaminess perfectly.

Ash Street Cellar is charming, sophisticated and unpretentious. For that alone I would recommend you check it out for yourself, and the “breadley” is of course highly recommended.

Ash Street Cellar
1 Ash Street
Sydney 2000
Phone: (02) 9240 3000

words: Mireille Lam


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