If you've found yourself delving into the world of natural wine at any point over the last decade or so in Sydney, you probably have one man to give thanks to. Co-founder of Rootstock and now fully fledged bricks-and-mortar businessman Giorgio De Maria has gone and opened a wine shop/bar/restaurant in a poky two-level space on the Darlinghurst end of Oxford Street.
With partners Enrico Tomelleri – hailing from little-known Sydney ventures like Ragazzi, Alberto's Lounge and 10 William Street – as well as Mattia Dicati of Vino Mito Wine Imports, it's safe to say you're going to be in very good hands when you walk through the door. Whether it be for a drink and a snack in the bar downstairs, or a more structured dinner service reserved for the second storey, everything at Paski is about quality: quality wine from quality winemakers and exceptional ingredients pulled together to pack real punch.
Take, for instance, Tomelleri's pappalá: a crimson spread made of milk-soaked cod, bread and tomato, his version of a pappa al pomodoro combined with baccalà mantecato. Dusted with dehydrated tomato powder for sharp zing and deep, rounded savouriness, it's a strong start.
The earthy tones continue with a beetroot sabayon with warm roasted hazelnuts, which we could take or leave, and a showstopper of whipped garlic-heavy sausage atop a crunchy crostini with bitter wilted cime di rapa, which is worth the price of admission alone.
Take a stroll along the wine shop wall, floor-to-ceiling iron bars secreting away wonders untold before dessert arrives. In this case, it's a particularly good panna cotta, complete with a little inner-thigh wibble, alongside a gently poached pear in all its grainy, sweet splendour.
While it may be more common around Europe, the prospect of a bottle shop where you can actually drink your tipple of choice in-house is still a relative anomaly on Aussie shores, and given that you can do just that with a few snacks and a small corkage fee at Paski is an exciting prospect indeed.