In late 2020, former sommelier Campbell Burton and his partner Charlotte Ryan opened Public Wine Shop, a new kind of wine destination in Fitzroy North, stocking exclusively organic drops.

It began as a pop-up but, after a refurb, it’s now a fully fledged wine bar and eatery with one of Australia’s most exciting young chefs – Ali Currey-Voumard – in the kitchen.

“She’s super talented,” says Burton of his head chef. “We’re so lucky to have her.”

It’s a coup for the St Georges Road spot. Currey-Voumard made a nationally noticed splash at Tasmania’s acclaimed Agrarian Kitchen Eatery – a sustainability-focused cooking school and restaurant in New Norfolk – where she worked her way up from volunteer to head chef. And since leaving her post in 2019, she’s done a stint in France under chef Harry Lester at Le Saint Eutrope, as well as at Tasmania’s now-closed Franklin and SA’s singular Summertown Aristologist.

At Public, though, she’s drawing on her extensive experience to serve a small but sharp French-leaning menu built mostly around seafood.

“Hot dishes will change all the time,” says Burton. “It’s based on hyper-seasonality.” In spring, for example, Currey-Voumard dished up risotto with celeriac and bottarga (salt-cured fish roe), provencal seafood soup, and whiting and sorrel on toast. But as the weather warms up, you might find oeufs mayonnaise (a simple French dish of hard-boiled eggs and mayo that’s taken very seriously in its homeland), mussels on toast with broad beans and celery, or prawn and tarragon quiche.

You can also choose from a selection of cheese, charcuterie and fancy tinned fish. Or skip the food entirely and go straight for the wine, which takes up a full wall of the tiny shop.

The idea is that you pick a bottle from the shelf and Burton retrieves its temperature-controlled counterpart from upstairs, guaranteeing a perfect glass every time. “We have all the red wine sitting at 14 degrees and then the whites and the sparklings at their particular temperatures,” he says.

Bottles from Australia, France, Spain, Austria, Germany and Italy are on current rotation, but Burton isn’t bound to any one region. “If we believe in that wine and love that producer, then it doesn't really matter where the wine’s from,” he says. In the past that’s meant “explosively delicious” Nouveau Litre gamay; a juicy, wild-fermented Catherine Dumora drop from Auvergne, France; and Shobbrook Wines’s luscious Poolside syrah.

If you’re drinking in, nab a seat at the 14-person communal table, the front bench or on the street side. “We want to have an intimate style of service where we can care really well for every person in here,” says Burton. “That means only having a small venue.”

Down the line, he and Ryan will open upstairs for tastings, masterclasses and private events.

Public Wine Shop
179 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Hours:
Mon to Sat 12pm–11pm
Sun 12pm–8pm

publicwineshop.com.au