Cellar 8 Wine & Espresso Bar

Rebecca Varidel
3rd Oct 2015
$6 - $36 for dinner

Pymble residents no longer need to leave the area for a fabulous night out. And what's more, wherever you live in Sydney Cellar 8 Wine & Espresso Bar is worth a trip to Post Office Street. We're not residents of the area, but a short train trip from Town Hall after work in the CBD had us arrive for an evening to remember.

"The idea behind the wine list from the outset has been to celebrate the produce of Australia and New Zealand. All our wines are sourced from family run boutique vineyards that are not widely known. Our aim is to bring the fantastic yet unrecognised produce to our patrons, promising something that's tasty, authentic and new" explained one of our Cellar 8 Wine & Espresso Bar hosts for the night, Shannon Cox.

"A great example of this is the Cirillo Estate in the Barossa. Mario is a 9th generation Italian winemaker and a one man operation. I deal with him directly when he is not out in the vineyard. The estate has some of the oldest Grenache vines in the world, some over 150 years old. We sell The Vincent Grenache and his Shiraz: two beautiful wines which you will struggle to fin on many wine lists."

Owners Shannon, and his parents Suzanne and Tony were all present, working at Cellar 8, attending to their guests in this friendly warm intimate space, which has about eight tables inside and a few more gracing the footpath perimeter.

For a first venture, we were not only extremely pleasantly surprised by the quality of the list, but smitten that each of the full page selection of 15 of each white and red wines are offered at very reasonable prices by the glass. Examples include 2015 d'Arenberg Dry Dam Riesling, McLaren Vale SA ($9/$45) which after dining (and tasting wines) earlier in the week with visiting winemaker Chester Osborne was an obvious first choice for our Cellar 8 evening. His 2013 d'Arenberg Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills SA ($10/$50) is also offered alongside wines from the Hunter Valley (examples 2013 Irongate Semillon Chardonnay and 2011 Leogate Reserve Semillon) and Mudgee NSW (2013 Optimiste Tempranillo Limited Release), Margaret River WA (2010 Hamelin Bay Five Ashes Shiraz, for example), Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale SA, Clare Valley SA, Yarra Valley (such as 2013 Squitchy Lane Coldstream Pinot Noir and their Cabernet Merlot of the same vintage) and Rutherglen in Victoria, and Marlborough in New Zealand.

After this prompting from Shannon our red of choice was indeed the sensuous 2013 Cirillo Estate The Vincent Grenache, Barossa SA ($8/$40) that's right, at just eight bucks a glass. Isn't Grenache such an under-rated varietal? And this example with small plates of House made chicken liver parfait with baby cornichons and sourdough crisp was a focal point of our night. Not just because the wine was beautiful, but the parfait was one of the best examples we've had recently in Sydney, full bodied, full of flavour, with a superb texture. Chef later explained, it is an update on a Banc recipe, and doesn't include any liquor. With that we also shared the Charcuturie board with caramelised figs, guindiallas and warm sourdough bread. Like all the small plates, this was also $20 with a serving that was generous for two people.

Suzanne Cox expanded that because Cellar 8 is a family business they wanted to support other family businesses. They don't profess to be wine experts - although I feel their knowledge is extremely proficient - and they are just offering wines that they like to drink, husband Tony added.

Alongside this extensive list of wines by the glass there are also Champagne & Sparkling wines, a Premium Selection of half a dozen wines available only by the bottle, Beer & Cider including Four Pines Kolsch ($8) and Stockade Lager, Smeaton Grange NSW ($8) and cocktails.

And what value the cocktails are. All the cocktails are only $15 each. Just one cocktail and you've paid for your return train ticket from the city. But more importantly, although it is a small list and mostly vodka based, the cocktails are superb. Chilli Chocolate Espresso Martini heading the list, is made with freshly brewed coffee, vodka, Galliano, Patron XO Café Indencio. If we hadn't been on a wine expedition, we could have drunk these, and the silky Sex On The Beach, all night.

As well as the bar appropriate small plates, Cellar 8 guests can also dine more substantially from a selection of five larger dishes, such as Crispy skin barramundi fillet with stir fry greens topped with capsicum and basil salsa ($34).

Desserts are offered too and are tempting at ten bucks. Yet what would wine be without cheese- so to finish the night, or to pair with any of the wines, the generous cheese board makes a party. Generous! Yes, there are five big 30g portions on the board. And plenty of slices of thick fruit toast for only $18. What was I saying about the price of a train ticket?

Best of all, even more than all this quality in the wines and cocktails and food, we experienced some of the best good old fashion service and professionalism that we've seen this century. The definition of hospitality. Hipster bartenders- take note!

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8 Post Office Street
02 9440 9044

Tue – Thu 4pm – 10.30pm

Fri – Sat 4pm – 11.30pm

Sun 4pm – 10.30pm