Kabir Ramasary moved to Northbridge 10 years ago and became part of the legacy that is live music venue The Bird and cocktail bar Ezra Pound. Now he’s opened Northbirdge Dining Room and Wine Store, his vision of a casual neighbourhood bar where everyone’s welcome. (It’s situated next to The Bird, hence the name.)
“From the moment I saw the room, I imagined a wine bar. It was the collision of my passion for food, wine and beautiful spaces,” he says. “With my Indian family background, everything is always about community, and that’s led me to where we are today.”
The new venue takes over from former tenant Young Love Mess Hall and is split into a wine store and separate dining room. The all-black paint job, hanging devil’s ivy and much-Instagrammed moon gate (a design feature inherited from the space’s earlier life as Penang Food Restaurant) remain. The team has also added new drinking nooks, sound proofing (to block out the bands at The Bird next door) and shelving and fridges lined with bottles of low-intervention drops.
Wine (from producers such Blind Corner, Koerner, Latta Vino and Radikon) can be enjoyed at home or on-site, by the bottle or the glass, with or without food. Instead of set corkage, each bottle has a separate price for dine in and takeaway.
Veteran drinks guy Chris Watts, formerly of Clarences, has consulted on the wine list. There are plenty of natural wines instore, with an emphasis on small producers and, at the same time, offering a list that is approachable to Northbridge punters.
“Wine is something to be enjoyed. You don’t have to be a sommelier to understand that something enhances food or tastes good,” he says. “Our job is to put in the time and research so we can offer wines that people may not be familiar with but can relate to in taste and style.”
Head chef is Chris Howard (formerly of Panama Social) who’s turning out seasonal small plates with a Mediterranean bent – such as house-made focaccia, a considered charcuterie plate, and whipped mussels with kohlrabi and dill. A cropped menu is also available in the bar.
“We’ll be splicing traditional flavours with new-school plating and techniques,” says Howard. “Don’t be surprised to see octopus salad or moules mariniere [a classic French dish of mussels in garlic and white wine], just not like you’ve had them before.”
Ramasary’s commitment to supporting small producers applies not just to wine. Bread is baked in-house using freshly milled flour from Miller + Baker. Other produce comes from Warren Grange in Manjimup and Roly Poly Farm in Harvey.
“Everything we’re buying is from a person,” says Ramasary. “Rick from Warren Grange delivers our garlic and our tomatoes, Roly Poly Farm deliver the rest of it. The theme throughout the whole venue is community.”
Northbirdge Dining Room and Wine Store
175–177 William Street, Northbridge
Dining room: Tue to Sat 5pm–late
Wine Store: Mon to Sun 4pm – late