On a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it corner in Surry Hills, Lokal is a pocket-sized natural wine bar that’s about embracing life’s simple pleasures: good company, sleek design and great wine.
Low-intervention producers dominate the wine list, which features around 55 natural wines by the bottle, a dozen or so by the glass, and a focus on orange drops. Co-owner Patrick Frawley (previously of Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Restaurant Story London and Terroirs wine bar London) is behind the impressive range and has visited most of the producers, and will happily chat about the wines he’s pouring.
Keeping things simple on the cocktail front, there are a couple of pre-batched options including a Salt and Vinegar Martini, made with salt harvested from Bondi Beach and served with a house-made potato chip.
The food, like the wine, is approachable. There’s a selection of share plates by head chef and co-owner Nelson Cramp (Fairmont Banff Springs in Canada, Porch and Parlour) that pair well with natural wine. Dishes might include crispy cauliflower topped with gorgonzola mornay, mushroom medleys with truffle corn and roasted cashews, and juicy fried chicken.
The tiny 45-square-metre corner space means everything had to be carefully considered to make the best of the site. Decked out in a neutral colour palette using Tasmanian ash and concrete, and with big windows and a few seats for outdoor dining, it feels bright and airy.
Behind the bar, the “kitchen” uses minimal machinery with just a single induction stove, hibachi, sandwich press, double fryer and meat slicer. Impressively, almost everything is made on-site, except for the bread which is from Tonton Bread next door.
Lokal is a cosy, walk-in type of place, with space for just 20 people and a couple of seats outside. But if you’re a bigger group looking to share some easy-drinking bottles, message the team and they’ll do their best to accommodate.
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