Along the main drag of Military Road is Cremorne’s newest dining destination. Inside, the sleek Scandinavian design transports you from the busy strip. The floors are concrete, the room is dim – with low hanging industrial light fittings – and there are clusters of circular wooden tables and stools. On the far back wall there is an open wine cellar made from wooden palettes, a hint of what this modern Australian restaurant has to offer.
Barrel Bar and Dining is the project of sommelier duo Stephen Thompson and Tony Binning. With an emphasis on boutique wines and seasonal produce, the restaurant and cocktail bar marks a point of difference from local establishments such as Bather’s Pavilion and The Oaks Hotel.
“We want to strike a balance between boutique wine supply and produce sourced directly from our wholesaler. We’re having fun with unusual wines but making sure the flavours are clean so they match the food,” says Thompson.
The dining area sits in an indoor courtyard underneath a lit canopy of fake ivy, with the open kitchen and white marble-top bar. The menu is split into snacks, smaller plates and larger plates. From candied walnuts and pork scratchings, to Cone Bay barramundi and slow-cooked beef cheeks.
From Sunday to Thursday the restaurant offers a BYO option, and diners can have the wines they bring matched to dishes on the menu. Among the standout offerings are sweet heirloom carrots cooked five ways; the 12-hour cured Queensland king prawns served with vanilla and coffee-bean jelly and herbs; and house-made ricotta and field mushroom duxelle.
“We want it to be the new neighborhood hub. Whether you meet after work for drinks and small plates of food, or with friends for dinner and a glass of wine before the theatre,” says Thompson.