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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  1. The outside of Famelia
    Photograph: Philippa Enid
  2. Famelia wine bar and bottle shop
    Photograph: Philippa Enid
  3. Owner Amelia Birch pouring wine
    Photograph: Philippa Enid

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Just like a nice glass of wine, you’ll want to drink up this gorgeous bar and bottle shop again and again

We’re halfway through our wine and snacks at Famelia, a new bar and bottle shop found on Newtown’s Enmore Road, when a brunette wearing a fabulous fuchsia jumpsuit stands up to leave, and says to us with a smile: “Sorry if I put my bum in your face.”

You see, Famelia is intimate, seating just 25 inside (we’re told come spring there will be another ten seats outside) surrounded by exposed brick walls. The right-hand side is dotted with round tables, leather stools and banquette seating, with one beautiful (read: enviable) dusty pink marble table for four by the window. When the room becomes full – which it does very quickly on the Friday evening that we visit – the space doesn’t really resemble a wine bar, more so your best friend’s living room. And if the worst thing that happens is that we share a smile, chat and laugh with our neighbour, then we’re on board.

The size of Famelia is the least interesting thing about this spot. Owner and sommelier Amelia Birch – who previously owned popular Surry Hills café the Book Kitchen that closed in 2017 – wanted to create a venue that spotlights female winemakers, tells the stories behind the vinos, and sell them at retail prices. See, impressive.

To the left is the bottle shop, where wines curated by Birch are lined along the wall looking pretty. Prices start from $25 and go to $200. Usually when we walk into bottle shops we go for a cool label (or, let's face it, what’s on special). Here you can try before you buy, or drink there with a corkage fee of $15. Famelia’s offering feels approachable, unpretentious, and we reckon it will change Sydneysiders' wine game for the better.

As well as wine, there are beers, soft drinks, sparkling and cocktails, and we begin with a Yuzushu Spritz, which is tangy, refreshing and a celebration of citrus. Move over, Aperol.

Every week, Birch selects her top-12 wines to showcase. On the menu, the ones marked with an asterisk are made by female winemakers (we count five out of the 12). You can choose to order by the glass, or go for the wine flight, made up of three or more half glasses. We aren’t going to Europe any time soon, and this may be the most aviation action we will have for a while, so we go for the flight.

We let Birch fly, pouring us a glass of Domaine de la Quilla Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine from France’s Loire Valley. It’s clean, crisp, bright, and delicious with some Sicilian olives.

Next, we taste Craven Karibib Vineyard Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch, South Africa. It’s interesting, frunky, juicy and disappears quickly.

Between welcoming guests, taking orders, and cracking bottles, Birch – who’s wearing a brightly coloured top that matches her warm energy – and her other ace waitstaff are talking to each table about the wine. It’s nice to hear the stories behind the adult grape juice, and we can’t say for sure, but we think it makes the wine taste better, too.

A tiny bench out the back of the room is where the team prepares grown-up snacks. Think cheeses with bread, crackers and pickles; duck and cherry pâté; chicken and tarragon terrine; and Olasagasti anchovies.

We go for Alvia's egg dip, named after Birch’s grandmother. Served with seeded crackers, the egg is chopped, mixed with sour cream and chives, and topped with orange and black caviar that look like shiny beads. The salty caviar provides seasoning, and all up it’s one tasty heirloom.

Pillowy pita is layered with creamy whipped cod roe, fresh tomato, a scattering of basil and pink peppercorns, and white anchovies. It’s simple, textural and tastes of the sea.

We pair that with our last wine of the flight, a glass of Alessandro Viola Nero d'Avola and Syrah from Sicily. It’s bold, tastes like dark fruit and spice, and we find ourselves not wanting the ride to end.

We’ve been here for a chunk of time, and can hear Birch have to turn away at least three groups of people, one of which says: “It’s a cute spot, isn’t it?” to their friend. They're absolutely right. One couple wants to come in so bad they don't worry about the lack of seats and just stand. This place is as hot as the earth’s core and, just like a nice glass of wine, we want to drink it up again and again. Here’s to you, Famelia.


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Avril Treasure
Written by
Avril Treasure


55 Enmore Rd
Opening hours:
Wed-Sat 2pm-late, Sun 2pm-9pm
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