It might be a case of a seven-year itch for Cake Wines. The wine brand – which celebrated its second birthday as a permanent cellar door in Redfern in March this year, but operated as a pop-up for five years before that – has just reopened after a quick one-week renovation.
“We’ve learnt so much,” says founder and owner Glen Cassidy. “We’ve learnt what works (hopefully) and what doesn’t, so it just felt like the right time to evolve things.”
While aesthetic improvements have formed a large part of the renovation, the changes permeate the business. A new kitchen brings a hugely expanded menu Cassidy says is the ideal accompaniment to Cake Wines’s primary offering – wines crafted in the Adelaide Hills by Sarah Burvill.
“The approach was to create a menu of seasonal, market fresh, ‘no tricks’-style dishes, all shared, complementing the wines across the board,” he says. “Nothing heavy, nothing overpriced, and changing every couple of weeks.”
Despite the “no tricks” promise, there’s still plenty of magic on offer. Created by head chef Anthony Redondi (Aqua Dining, Cafe Sydney), the menu includes a salty, sweet savoury doughnut stuffed with jamon and taleggio; a blue swimmer crab and potato toastie; and, for something sweet, the wine syllabub (a super light mousse) with torched grapes.
The pizzas are still around, topped with buffalo mozzarella, basil, olive oil and other wine-pairing favourite ingredients, and the new shared menu offers cold plates of crudo, burrata and salumi; hot plates of seared lamb or fish; and the essential cheese platter.
“We’ll be open for brunch, lunch and dinner so people can lock in for a proper weekend session,” says Cassidy.
Cake Wines has always been more than just a wine brand. It’s built is reputation by throwing great parties and lunches, supporting local musical talent and collaborating with businesses and chefs to foster community. That will still be the case with Cake 2.0, especially music-wise.
Mike Who, Adi Toohey, Simon Caldwell, and Anno are all booked for the reopened venue’s first month. “We’ve got a better understanding now of how to bring together food, wine and music so that they all work together,” says Cassidy. “There’s a real cellar door sound that people come for.”
The label also has some new wines on the way, he says, including a “super fresh, light beaujolais-style barbera”, and its 2018 pinot gris and rosé, all available at the cellar door.
Cassidy is confident the reinvigorated venue is a one-of-a-kind in Sydney, and says he’s looking forward to sharing it.
“[Sydney’s] dining scene has really evolved – it’s a super exciting time to be in this game,” he says. “We like to think we’ve remained accessible and welcoming throughout the ebbs and flows of certain trends, taking the best bits, making them our own, and continuing to invite new people into the world of wine. That’s our role and we’re sticking to it.”
Cake Wines Cellar Door
16 Eveleigh Street, Redfern
Fri 12pm–3pm; 6pm–12am