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Public Wine Shop

  • Bars
  • Fitzroy North
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. A white brick wall is filled with shelfs of wine bottles with a large wooden table with people sitting around in front of the wall
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
  2. A record player sits on a wooden cabinet with a large silver lamp shining light on a green vinyl cover
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
  3. A plate with a slice of terrine, mustard and small pickled cucumbers is on a silver bench
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
  4. A large table in the middle of the bar is filled with groups of people eating and drinking with low hung light fittings above the table
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
  5. A plate has a baguette cut in half, next to a large dollop of butter on a silver bench
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
  6. A lady cuts a piece of bread on a white plate next to a glass of rose with other plates of food on a wooden table
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
  7. There are small tables with silver stools and large heaters outside the front glass facade of the Public Wine Shop
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
  8. A man in a blue shirt with a serious expression sits at a wooden table with a glass of wine in front of a wall of many shelves of wine bottles
    Photograph: Patricia Sofra
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Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Public Wine Shop is part bar, part restaurant, and part bottle-o – wrapped up in a charming Fitzroy North exterior

Public Wine Shop is the very model of the modern-era wine bar. There’s soul spinning on the turntable, rows of wine bottles lining the brick wall and a communal table to rule them all. Altogether, it adds up to that incalculable feeling that you’ve somehow stumbled into a mate’s place rather than the new haunt of one of Australia’s most promising chefs.

On Fitzroy North’s increasingly interesting St Georges Road shopping drag, Public Wine Shop would probably prefer top billing for its wine. With award-winning sommelier Campbell Burton as its owner and an impressive quiver of natural, organic, oxidative and all-round minimally messed-with wines at the disposal of staff (including Sarah Fitzsimmons, co-founder of Hobart’s equally impressive Dier Makr), it could live and die on the booze alone.

But Ali Currey-Voumard (ex-Agrarian Kitchen) steals the show without betraying the un-shouty beauty that made her one of Australia’s breakout chef stars of recent years.

Her food leans towards Italy and France and is unfancy and as wine-friendly as it gets. Start with Sydney rock oysters with a squeeze of lemon and a wodge of baguette that also proves the perfect super-soaker to the ouefs mayonnaise – a gooey-centred egg cloaked in aioli with anchovies and celery leaves draped artfully over the top. It’s an early signature that fully deserves to be on the menu forevermore.

Currey-Voumard’s beef carpaccio is another example of her talent for taking a ubiquitous dish and elevating it above its peers – in this instance, by virtue of meat with full flavour heft and a bold hand on a buttermilk and parmesan dressing with a compelling lactic tang.

The beauty of a whole baby flounder with a summer vegetable caponata is more straightforward – order the dressed leaves on the side for a full representation of the food pyramid – and finish on a note of haute farmhouse with the roasted strawberries, vanilla cream and walnut biscuit that might conjure fond memories of Agrarian.

Between Burton and Currey-Voumard, PWS is the perfect neighbourhood hangout – one where you could be equally at home enjoying a glass or two and a few plates in blissful solitude or colonising some space with a bigger group (if that’s your intention, get there early to beat the no-bookings crowd).

It’s also a retail wine shop, so you can pop in to grab a bottle to impress your mates back home. But there’s a stickiness to the Public Wine Shop. Wander through the door and there’s a good chance you’re not going anywhere for some time. Resistance is futile, but succumbing is a joy.

Written by
Larissa Dubecki

Details

Address:
179 St Georges Rd
Fitzroy North
3068
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-8pm
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