In February, The Dolphin Hotel announced it would be making its well-respected Wine Room its focus, bringing the drinks selected by Icebergs group sommelier James Hird (Icebergs, Cicciabella) to the pub’s other spaces and bars. Now the transformation is complete, and the new Dolphin Wine & Food Store will open on Wednesday May 20.

Hird has raided the pub’s well-stocked natural-wine cellar, unearthing a number of rare bottles and back vintages that will be sold in the store. There’ll be 200 to 300 bottles available at any time, and although the really rare stuff will likely go pretty early, there’ll always be a broad selection of funky drops. You can expect Dolphin classics, including its 10-litre “Big O” orange-wine cask for a very reasonable $150, and a four-litre cask of barbera for $65. There are also plenty of bargains to be had, with a range of options around the $20 mark.

“I’ve wanted to do a wine store at the Dolphin since 2016, and it’s incredibly exciting to be launching this unique collection of rare B sides and stone-cold hits alongside the Dolphin to-go menu,” said Hird in a statement. “It’s an ‘all hits, no misses’ wine line-up that’s taken four years to assemble. With access to the entire Dolphin cellar, there’s a great collection of back vintages and wines that we were holding back.”

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The new retail store will be selling baked goods (sausage rolls, focaccias, and spinach and feta rolls) and groceries, including fresh pasta and sauces; a selection of cheeses (such as burrata, buffalo mozzarella and gorgonzola); Ortiz anchovies; Olsson’s sea salt; charcuterie; and fresh produce.

Equally exciting is the fact that The Dolphin will begin selling its modern-Italian food to take away, which includes northern-Italian-style pizzas; hit dishes such as Calamari St Andrea, linguine with prawns and XO, pork cotoletta, and herb-roasted chicken cacciatore; and burgers.

While the takeaway and groceries will come in handy for an evening in with a few friends, if you’re interested in a special night out, you can now book The Dolphin’s restaurant, Dining Room, for a private meal (maximum 10 diners, in keeping with the new restrictions). Pop into the wine store to choose your bottles and feast on a set menu in the courtyard next to an open fire.

If you’re after a more casual dining experience, check out the new Delfino Burger & Wine Bar, which is seating walk-ins (with capacity for 10 people). Open from Wednesday to Sunday, it’ll serve burgers during the week, and a larger menu with entrees, pizza, pasta and mains on the weekend.

The Dolphin Food & Wine Store is open from 12pm to 10pm Wednesday to Sunday (pre-order your takeaway meals or order in-store). Delfino Burger & Wine Bar opens from 12pm Wednesday to Sunday. Email info@dolphinhotel.com.au or call (02) 9331 4800 to reserve the Dining Room or place a takeaway order.