Giorgio de Maria’s Paski Vineria Popolare brings excellent Italian food and wine to Oxford Street

Sydney’s hottest new restaurant is named after a dog named after a wine. Unfortunately, Paski, a border collie who lives in Bronte with his owner Giorgio de Maria, won’t be working behind the counter in Paski Vineria Popolare’s wine bar or bottle shop downstairs, or helping the chefs in the intimate restaurant upstairs. But she will overlook the dining room, of a bold new artwork by Gianluca Cannizzo.

The Turin-based artist (who runs graphic design company My Poster Sucks) was commissioned to create a piece for the venue, and his large-scale artwork dominates one of the walls of the premier eatery, Paski Sopra (sopra translates to “above). ” in Italian).It is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s The last Supper but, unlike the original, this version is a wine-fuelled feast with vino-filled glasses being rinsed enthusiastically and Paski sitting in front of the table, on a floor strewn with broken bottles.

It’s high praise – placement in the artwork is not granted to any of the venue’s owners: the Maria, Mattia Dicati and Enrico Tomelleri.

Paski Vineria Popolare opened yesterday and its arrival is fantastic news for fans of Italian food and interesting wines. It has moved into the space previously occupied by This Must Be the Place.

Tomelleri, who has cooked at some of the city’s best Italian eateries, including Ragazzi, Alberto’s Lounge and 10 William Street, is responsible for the food. Downstairs it’s all about the meats and cheeses, plus a few other appetizers like oysters, olives and pancetta-wrapped mussels, skewered and grilled.

There are a dozen meats — from mortadella to saucisson, noix de jambon and prosciutto — and about the same number of cheeses (made with raw, cow, sheep, goat and buffalo milk) from Australia, Italy and France. Highlights include a 36-month-old Comté, a bitey pecorino, and one of this country’s most celebrated cheeses, Holy Goat’s La Luna.

The approximately 30 bar stools are surrounded by beautiful illuminated shelves by Sydney artist Dion Horstmans. They have an assortment of 450 bottles from small-scale wine producers imported through co-owner Dicati’s Vino Mito Wine Imports and the Maria’s Giorgio de Maria Fun Wines.

Even if you are not familiar with Maria’s wines, the drink you drink in Sydney is probably influenced by him. Few people have shaped this town’s drinking scene quite like De Maria – first at the now-closed 121 BC Cantina & Enoteca, then as co-creator of the natural wine festival Rootstock. His ideas about sustainable agriculture and wine production — especially championing wine that is simply fermented grapes in a bottle and nothing else, without preservatives, sulfur or other impurities — have significantly informed drink trends across the country.

Now he continues to bring about change by listing Paski’s wines not by variety or color, but by the people who make them. “With this we put the artisan producers in the spotlight,” he says. “So instead of people talking about sparkling wine, they’re talking about the people who make the wines — the producers.”

The staff pour many options by the glass (the list is always changing), or you can grab something off the shelf to drink for a small corkage fee. The emphasis is on dining, but you can buy a bottle to take away (it’s $1 cheaper if you have a BYO bag).

Upstairs, there’s a longer a la carte menu of handmade pastas, seafood, and more. It is small, but thoughtful design has helped create intimate spaces. Our choice is the window tables overlooking Oxford Street.

Here, in addition to the selection available downstairs, you can get rare and specialty wines, and on Wednesday nights the space will be used to host tastings. “Customers can learn and buy from the person who bought the wines themselves and who knows each producer well. We offer a direct link with these winemakers, which will make for a very special experience,” says de Maria.

Vineria Popolare Belts
239 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst


Mon to Sat 3 pm – late

Sopra straps (top):
Mon & Tues, Thurs to Sat 5.30pm – late

@enricoto me

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