Every time Fabio Dore (One Ford Street) describes a dish at Sella Vinoteca, he rounds off his description with a wine recommendation or two. It makes sense. The Randwick wine bar and bottle shop is home to 350 bottles and counting, and the food and wine are inextricably linked.

Every dish has a matching bottle in the ever-expanding collection, which includes drops from all over the world, whether it’s a grenache rosé from the south of France to accompany the cured trout and pickled heirloom carrots, or an Etna rosso from Sicily to have with the crisp-skinned snapper with purple potatoes.

“In most restaurants the kitchen comes first and the sommelier goes around the chef,” Dore tells Broadsheet. “This time I’m the owner and sommelier as well, and the wine comes first.”

Dore’s expert pairings make the wine and food come alive. The scent of the albarino drop from Spain alone tells you it will go beautifully with the bite of raw tuna and beef tartare you just took. It’s clear that Dore and chef Marco Masotti (ex-A Tavola) have worked closely to create a harmonious union between food and wine.

“When we did the menu, I got Marco very drunk trying all the wines,” Dore says, laughing. According to Dore, vinotecas are a part of life in Europe. “It’s a place where you go buy a bottle of wine, have a chat with the owner, eat a couple of oysters, some chorizo, and end up staying to eat dinner.”

Sella Vinoteca leads with wine. But the food experience is more refined than in the simple bottle shops and eateries that Dore describes. Some customers do just come for a glass of wine and a small plate of Spanish anchovies with squid-ink crostino, or ’nduja sliders with grilled chorizo and manchego. But the best Sella Vinoteca experience happens when there’s plenty of time to sample dishes and their accompanying drops.

Sella Vinoteca is part of Randwick’s Newmarket development – a dining hub and apartment complex on land that, until recently, was occupied by horse stables. The wine bar joins Rara Ramen Randwick and Baccomatto Osteria, which opened early last year, and Dumplings & Beer and Gelato Messina, which both launched in December.

Although the precinct is new, it was important to Dore for Sella Vinoteca to “look like it had always been there.”

The freshness of the space is undeniable, but between the wood feature walls and archways, the seafoam-green-tiled bar, and the beautiful polished cement and granite floors, the small dining room is a welcoming place to sit late into the evening. It goes well with the sense of home Dore is trying to create. “I try to look after my customers as friends. That’s why I never opened in the CBD. In the suburbs you can remember their name, what they like to drink,” he says.

“I don’t want people to feel stressed like they need to rush eating or leave quickly. I always say, ‘Relax. My house is your house’.”

Sella Vinoteca
162–164 Barker Street, Randwick

Tue to Thu 5.30pm–10pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–3pm, 5.30pm–10pm
Sun 12pm–3pm, 5.30pm–9pm