Last year’s hugely popular inaugural Delfino Aperitivo program proved The Dolphin in Surry Hills is more than just a pub.

At 5pm sharp one day a week, as aperitivo hour sets in, the wine bar sees a change of guard. Matthew Marco Bugeja steps away from the pans and in slide some of the country’s most talented chefs and wine producers who, for two hours, serve a selection of inexpensive snacks and pour drinks to match.

It’s unlike anything else in the country, and last’s year’s line-up was a revolving door of talent included Paul Carmichael of Momofuku Seiobo and Automata’s Clayton Wells.

Busy and loud, the bar is born to host a party, such as when Attica’s Ben Shewry played his collection of vinyls (while wearing a fabulous shirt and shorts outfit) or when Matthew Bax brought the whole Bar Americano team up from Melbourne, without any notice. It’s moments like these that make these snacks special.

This year’s program pushes a different snacking-and-sipping agenda, with dishes that travel from Hobart to Bali.

This weekend on March 4 is a Cambodian barbeque night with Acme’s Mitch Orr. He’ll be plating up lort cha (stir-fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, scallions and a fried egg); bendbaoh salah (a green tomato, cucumber, sawtooth-coriander and mint salad); followed by slab moan baoek (fried chicken wings stuffed with a fragrant Cambodian spice mix). Firing up the barbeque, Orr will be cooking calamari in pork fat, scattered with scallions, and lemongrass-beef skewers with pickled green papaya, served on a French banh mi roll.

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Newtown’s recently resurrected Hartsyard 2.0 is moving in on March 18 to host an evening of “chips and dips”, followed by an Easter Sunday session with Franklin’s Annaliese Gregory.

David Moyle from Melbourne’s Longsong is taking the reins on April 8 with a tropical theme of “island dreamzzz”, before Shannon Moran from Bali’s The Slow hotel takes charge on April 27.

One of Sydney’s finest seafood restaurants, Saint Peter, will drop by on May 6 to take care of your afternoon snacks in “apostle-tivo” hour; and Mother’s Day (May 13) will welcome Yellow’s Adam Wolfers to the kitchen. Rounding off the series is Pasi Petänen with a “pho-retivo” hour.

The Dolphin's "Delfino" program runs from Sunday to Thursday, from 5pm until 7pm.

dolphinhotel.com.au/aperitivo-hour

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