When Luna co-owners Marina Tazhdynova and Olga Baranova launched their Pulteney Street cafe in March, they shared plans to eventually extend trade into the evening. Fast-forward a few months and the duo have finally introduced the venue’s night-time persona – a cosy, community-minded wine bar.
Tazhdynova, who has owned and operated popular CBD bars Bibliotheca, Suzie Wong, and (the now closed) Red October, heads up the evening service while Baranova – as pastry chef – focuses on day trade.
And where Tazhdynova’s other venues have a strong whisky and cocktail focus, Luna’s drinks program is largely focused on wine: especially small-batch drops from local producers such as The Mysterious Mr Black, Ottelia, Hugh Hamilton, Seabrook, Brackenwood and Adelina. There’s something for every palate: from Veuve Clicquot brut champagne to Hahndorf Hill rosé to skinsy orange wines by Delinquente and Blind Corner.
“I’m basically going for whether I like [the wine] or not. It’s not a posh or high-end wine bar, it’s more a homey-style community thing,” Tazhdynova tells Broadsheet. “The idea is that we crack a bottle or two on the day and sell it by the glass. Or the first lucky customer can decide which one [they] want to crack [open].”
The concept is a perfect match for the communal space, which revolves around one long table in the centre of the room. The timber bench was built by Tazhdynova’s husband, Roman, and is similar to the kitchen island in the couple’s own home. “Basically, we’re welcoming you into our kitchen,” Tazhdynova told Broadsheet ahead of the opening.
“The idea is that everyone sits together … It’s the same space for the customers and us – there’s no separation or bar as such. At home, when my friends come and visit and I’m still cooking, they’ll sit and chat with me … so I’m excited to bring that [here].”
Naturally, the food menu is to be shared. Chef Alberto Cardozo e Silva (ex-Red October) has designed a selection of wine-friendly small plates served with house-baked bread: think charcuterie; prosciutto with pickled peppers; burrata with heirloom tomatoes; baked ricotta gnocchi with mushroom and cheese; and burnt eggplant with tahini and pomegranate.
There’s also a seasonal cocktail list, which is largely based around wine and coffee. On the winter menu you can expect mulled wine, smoked wine spritzes, a few variations of the Espresso Martini and a twist on Black and White Russians, plus a flaming Hot Toddy and some classic cocktails made and bottled by the Bibliotheca crew.