Natural wine has always been the supporting act for Pici’s pasta and Ooh-Fa’s pizzas, but now the team behind those venues is bringing the bottle centrestage with the forthcoming Tappo – their new wine bar and shop.
They’re jokingly calling it their “unplanned baby”, says co-owner Gemma Hareb, who’s overseeing the new addition with her business partners Jono Thevenard and Kazuya Suzuki, and the group’s “wine guy” James Pain.
Tappo is right next door to Pici in St Kevins Arcade, and they took over the space earlier this year, initially as a prep room for the pasta restaurant. Now, “pasta and focaccia will be made here in the morning, [and] in the evening it will turn into a wine bar and shop,” Hareb tells Broadsheet.
“Simplicity and approachability will always be core ideas for us, as they are for Pici. We want this space to be welcoming, and to evoke a sense of curiosity, connection and community,” she says. “This will be a space where you can have as little or as much interaction with staff as you’d like without the need for stuffy wine chat.”
The space’s design is dictated by the team’s bread- and pasta-making requirements, and they’re currently sprucing it up ahead of Tappo’s September 1 opening date. There’s a single, six-seat communal table with benches for customers to sit shoulder-to-shoulder while sipping their natty, and olive oil-stained wooden shelving. There will be space for another six 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.
Head chef and co-owner Thevenard will also be cooking a simple menu to pair with the wines that continues Pici’s rustic Italian theme. Expect snacks such as beef carpaccio with horseradish, and marinated mussels.
“Essentially, it’s a wine shop where you can purchase a bottle off the shelf to take home, or drink it in-store with a few snacks,” says Hareb. You’ll also be able to order wine by the glass.
“It’s a natural transition from Pici.”
Tappo is scheduled to open on Friday, September 1.
Shop 23, St Kevins Arcade
183 Karangahape Road, Auckland