Already one of Australia’s most respected and successful wine traders, East End Cellars’ new expansion has them on the verge of becoming a full-blown institution. For over 20 years, its Vardon Avenue wine-bar-slash-bottle-shop has been considered a go-to for knock-off drinks, semillon on a sunny Sunday arvo, picking up a suitably impressive bottle on the way to a party and even morning coffees. Having also opened Mothervine, the team – made up of East End Cellars’ original owners Michael and Margie Andrewartha, general manager and wine buyer Mathieu Smeysters and business partner Andrew Nunn – were ready to expand their original brand.
And according to co-owner and Norwood local Smeysters, the suburb was a natural fit. “Norwood has always been a real estate hotspot and while The Parade side of Norwood has a couple of wine bars that have a great offering, Norwood is growing (particularly in the Magill Road area) and we recognised an opportunity to become a part of that community and cater to a local clientele,” Smeysters told Broadsheet.
Those locals have well and truly made their excitement known. “We’ve been setting up for the last couple of weeks and hundreds of people ask when we are opening and say how they’re so excited not to have to walk into the city to get the East End Cellars experience,” he says.
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While on the surface the Norwood space will look and feel much like its Vardon Avenue predecessor, there are some key points of difference – namely in the form of the extended menu, designed by executive chef Josh Lansley (formerly sous-chef at Osteria Oggi and head chef at Press Food & Wine).
“East End Cellars Norwood’s food offering will be much more than just platters and small plates. The intention is to make our Norwood venue as much a dining destination as a wine destination,” Smeysters toldBroadsheet earlier this month.
Lansley will open with a full lunch and dinner menu but hopes to expand to include a Sunday breakfast menu in the coming weeks. The menu includes brasserie classics such as steak frites and an apple tarte tatin as well as other European-inspired dishes such as Ligurian focaccia sandwiches; wild mushroom and truffle ragu gnocchetti; crispy potato mille feuille with raw beef and Murray cod caviar; and Smeysters’ personal favourite, the curried prawn sandwich, which he’d pair with a glass of Murdoch Hill chardonnay. There will be a four-course set menu for $75 per person and cheese, charcuterie plates and even takeaway sandwiches for those just looking for a quick bite.
The wine offering is suitably impressive with over 600 bottles available starting from just $15 per bottle and skyrocketing up to $2000 per bottle for premium drops. Like at the Vardon Avenue outpost, customers will be able to pick up a bottle from the range and drink it on-site for a $20 corkage fee, or indulge in a list of by-the-glass options.
Notably, East End Cellars Norwood will be South Australia’s first Krug “Champagne Embassy”, with bubbles available by the glass for $75. “It’s a great opportunity for us and it’s a great opportunity for South Australia,” says Smeysters. “I don’t think Krug would have been keen to attach their brand name to a food and drink venue in Adelaide five years ago. But Adelaide is such a growing market and now people are flying interstate to drink and dine in Adelaide, so Krug is recognising that as well as everything that East End Cellars has been doing for the last 20 years.”