A slender, loud, dimly lit room perfect for a pre-dinner tipple, this Surry Hills wine bar and
bottle shop has gently shapeshifted over the years, but the general concept has always
remained the same. Snacks to share and excellent wines. Always a winning combination.
When Bodega closed in 2019, it wasn’t for long.
In fact, they just kind of shifted sideways into WyNo (tucked just around the corner) and renamed the space – WyNo X Bodega – to reflect the merging of the two venues. So, if you have a booking at sister restaurants Porteño or Bastardo, or tickets to see a play at Belvoir Street Theatre, you can grab a glass of wine and the infamous ‘fish fingers’ – garlic rubbed toast soldiers topped with kingfish sashimi and cuttlefish ceviche to kick off your evening.
Because of the shape of the space, the original layout from the 121BC days remains. If it
ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say. The long communal table is also the bar, seats up to 27,
and fits any configuration of guests; although it feels a little squashy until our neighbours
depart for their dinner booking. The decor is a bit cluttered–although it turns out that the
apparently random jumble of framed images are actually made up of the old Bodega mural
(“barriga llena corazón contento” – full belly, happy heart) which is symbolic of the re-working
and legacy of the old tapas restaurant, and nice in theory but in practice feels kind of
overwhelming in such a small space.
To the left of the table is Sydney’s skinniest bottle shop. All the wines on the shelves are
available by the glass, and for takeaway, if you’re so inclined. Subsequently, there is no
‘traditional’ wine list, and a range of different bottles are opened each night. Big tip: don’t be
shy. Ask the staff how much the wines are, as a glass can vary from fairly reasonable to
rather expensive, which is fine, but better to ask up front than be surprised at the end. The
modern-Latin tapas menu is perfect for the ‘order a few things and share’ style of dining
we’ve become accustomed to in Sydney.
And the food is good, although to this reviewer's taste, some of the dishes want more salt, while others feel a little over engineered for tapas. But, the menu rotates with such frequency that may well have changed already. And, when all is said and done, WyNo X Bodega continues to be a fun option for a quick pre-theatre nibble, or “just one more glass
of wine” and a slice of the perfectly burnt Basque cheesecake after dinner at any of the
many Holt Street venues.