Tucked away on Collins Street, in the heart of the city, is a hidden den of pleasures. As the sun sets and the surrounding shops close they open their doors and Lucinda Wine draws in those that are in need.
And your desires are well catered for. Feel like a quiet drink of something interesting? You’re in luck. Peckish for something tasty? Bingo! Want to eat and drink all the things? Well that’s what we were here for.
Padron peppers are first to arrive and they explode with juices on first bite. Bread is hurriedly ordered to mop up the liquid as it is indeed delicious. The sourdough comes with some creamy schmaltz which competes for attention.
The space is casual, no traditional tables exist but a long bar and window stools are there to be taken. Bookings, though, aren’t taken but on a Sunday night there was plenty of room to walk in.
Plates are brought out at a steady pace. A dish of preserved sea urchin and anchovy dip is milder than expected but welcoming. Rillettes are exceptional, coarsely torn and tender. Everything can be eaten by hand with the occasional assistance of a knife, it’s food to be shared and very social.
The stand out dish for me was raw beef served with slices of tomatillo atop. Light and refined, meaty and flavoursome. It matched the natural wines perfectly I thought and summed up what they’re doing here: ‘Simple’ dishes with only a handful of ingredients but everything in glorious harmony.
But this is a wine bar and the list is indeed exciting. A heavy bias towards the natural style of wines exists with Europe being the most represented. There’s around eight available by the glass on the menu with a blackboard proudly showing what else they’ve opened to be tasted from the hundred or so different bottles in the cellar. It’s a refreshing experience to dive in and try some previously unheard of wines but knowledgeable staff are on hand if you need guiding. There’s some heavy hitting cocktails as well including a wildly fabulous Negroni.
Lucinda Wine is touted as the big sister of Dier Makr and follows many of the same principles in a more relaxed surrounding. It exists as a drop in for those that appreciate the finer things in life to experience a moment or two of bliss or an evening of decadence, somewhere to end the night or somewhere to be the night.
Lucinda Wine 123 Collins Street, open from 3pm daily