If you were to back anyone to carry on the legacy of 121BC, one of Sydney’s greatest ever wine bars, it would have to be Elvis Abrahanowicz, Joe Valore and Ben Milgate of Porteño. They’ve taken over the alley-like space with Wyno, a casual wine bar and store.
There are obvious similarities between what was once there and the new venue, but Abrahanowicz and Milgate say they don’t want to be compared to 121BC, nor do they want Wyno to be thought of as a Porteño add-on. “Wyno is its own thing. Just [based on] its location it would be the perfect spot for a pre- or post-Porteño visit, but it will have its own menu and will be a place to visit in its own right,” says Abrahanowicz.
The food served is typical of the two chefs; it’s simple in its production and ingredients, but clever and playful in execution. The opening menu includes a short selection of snacks, one just a bowl of peanuts and pork, another a pot of buttery sardines covered in a mess of fries.
A few bigger dishes are sized just short of a main; such as the octopus ragu over paccheri pasta, and a bisque spaghetti with an LP’s seafood sausage on the side. “The menu will be relatively small, sharing style and changing really regularly.” Almost every day, we’re told.
The same goes for Valore’s wine list, which unlike the food here echoes the nearby Porteño list. “Certainly anything that you might drink at Porteño and love, you will be able to purchase through the wine store,” says Abrahanowicz, although there will be a wider variety at Wyno. “You will find an international offering that focuses on small producers. There will be a bit of the natural and interesting, but complemented by classic.”
The space has undergone a few changes, led by Sarah Doyle, but it still has the same bar-style seating, dim lighting and date-night vibes as 121BC.