WITH a name like the Wickham Wine Bar you’d think you’d get a fairly decent glass of plonk.
And you’d be right. With a menu stretching over four pages and waiter-cum-sommeliers, this place offers crisp and cool Antipodean Sauvignon Blancs and heavy, rich Cabernets and Reserve de Lubin Syrah Grenache.
But it’s not just the beverages that draw the crowds in to the renovated cottage which boasts a roaring fire and beautiful wooden beams.
The food menu, unlike its wine counterpart, is not extensive but is sure to get anyone salivating.
With a range of vegetarian, fresh fish and meat dishes on offer – and a cook who knows his way around every ingredient – this place is as chilled as its Wombat Hill Chardonnay. Relaxed and unpretentious; this is just a simple eaterie with great food, divine wine and staff who really know their stuff.
Torn between the freshly steamed mussels with white wine, cream, onion and garlic bread and the chorizo and red onion tartlet with piquillo and rocket pesto I chose the latter, thinking a smaller first course would allow for some indulgence later.
How wrong I was. The sumptuous warm cheese was gooey and thick and complimented the spicy hot meat wonderfully. The pesto gave it a fresh finish and was of ample size.
The mussels were some of the best I’ve eaten, cooked with a wonderfully rich garlic-infused sauce that came in what I assume to be a bucket, rather than a bowl, there were so many.
Their special for the evening was sea bass with new potatoes, fennel, caramelised red onion and sauce vierge. Delicate and moreish – a lovely balance of flavours.
My other half opted for the pork belly with dauphinoise potatoes and red cabbage. Again, a larger than normal portion and incredibly gluttonous.
The desserts are no smaller than the other courses and with so many opulent flavours a difficult one to decide.
The strawberry cheesecake was tall and creamy with a sweet coulis and a rich crunchy base. For me though the winner was the chocolate mousse with hazelnut dust. Light and fluffy yet strong with a rich chocolate flavour and a pure delight.
The restaurant was in the process of refreshing its menu just a few short days after our visit and, though some of the food mentioned can’t be ordered, the new range offers just as wonderful combinations that, with the right glass of wine (ask the waiter for recommendations if you can’t bring yourself to decide) are sure to leave you feeling full and content.