Sherry is not a drink that generally conjures up images of a great night out in Sydney. For whatever reason, and unlike port, it's has an association with winos and stuffy English upper classes. As with a handful of other venues featuring sherry (including Neutral Bay's 'The Local'), Tapavino is here to change your mind, one glass at a time. There are all types of sherry here, from the surprisingly dry and spicy to those so sweet that they can only be properly enjoyed with dessert.
If you are like most people, good sherry is probably new territory. Start with a general idea of what you feel like (dry, sweet, rich, light) then ask for a suggestion. 'Surprise me' is always a great option. Given the price range of $7-$30 and up, you may also want to give a price range for your request too.
Sherry may be the main drawcard, including some great sherry-based cocktails, but don't skip over the wines. The bottles stacked along the walls are there for more than decoration. This is probably the first issue with Tapavino: there are pages and pages of wines listing brands and vintages that few people in Sydney have heard of, or understand. It's hard enough to choose between 10 or 20 wines, but take that out to a hundred or more an suddenly you start wondering if it is simply too indulgent. How many people in Sydney have such a knowledge of mainly Spanish and Argentinean wine that they can distinguish between such a list, then pick the exact one?
On the food side, tapas are the main offerings. Spanish tapas are typically a small plate with simple, flavoursome ingredients at a reasonable price. At Tapavino there are many adventurous options that are tasty but the name tapas is more likely to refer to the serving size rather than price. Prices range from $4-27, with most landing in the middle of the range. At the lower end, $4 will get you spiced pocorn (which is free at many other small bars), $5 will get you almonds and $6, a bowl of olives. A cured meat plate comes in at $27: indulgent and delicious but not substantial enough if you're watching the budget.
In brief: TapavinoBest things: Discovering that sherry is a drink with depth and variety Don't miss: The sherry cocktails Ideal for: Catch-ups with friends, after work drinks Date tip: This is a venue more suited for the third outing or later. Gripes: It's certainly warm and welcoming and not as serious as some upmarket places but the fun-factor is definitely no match for bars such as Frankies Pizza or Vasco. Wine list is unnecessarily long. Rating: 7/10
Last updated: November 2016
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