Natural wine has always been the supporting act for Pici’s pasta and Ooh-Fa’s pizzas, but the team behind those venues puts the bottle centrestage with Tappo – their wine bar and shop right next door to Pici.
It was their “unplanned baby”, jokes co-owner Gemma Hareb, who oversees venue with her business partners Jono Thevenard and Kazuya Suzuki, and the group’s “wine guy” James Pain.
They initially took over the Tappo space as a prep room for Pici, and now pasta and focaccia are made here in the morning, then it turns into the wine bar and shop at night.
The space is simple and petite with a high ceiling, large six-seat central table, moon-like glass lampshade and wine bottles lining the shelves. There's space for another six on stools around the edges of the room, and eight or so seats out the front.
As for the drinks, Pain has put together a list that favours small-batch, organic and biodynamic producers from Aotearoa and Italy, covering a diverse range of styles and flavours. The team wants Tappo to be the antithesis of an intimidating wine experience, so it's up to you how much interaction you want to have around the complexities of what's in your glass.
Head chef and co-owner Thevenard cooks a simple menu to pair with the wines that continues Pici’s rustic Italian theme. Order light snacks such as beef carpaccio with horseradish; bean salad with pickled fennel; marinated mussels; crostini and local cheeses. The signature cheesecake with olive oil and sea salt makes an appearance, as does chocolate semifreddo with salted caramel.
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