French-leaning Darlinghurst institution Love, Tilly Devine helped teach Sydneysiders about wine bars. And the group behind it – as well as Ragazzi and Fabbrica – has returned to its roots with La Salut, a Catalan-inspired bolthole in the old sports bar of Redfern’s revamped Norfolk House and Hotel.
It’s a far cry from what was there before. Walk through the pink door, across the terrazzo paved floor, and turn right for the group’s debut bottle shop, Bottles.Sydney. Or head left for the tapas bar itself, featuring arches and curves inspired the architecture of Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Antoni Gaudi.
Executive chef Scott McComas-Williams has created an evolving menu in tribute to his time working in Barcelona, and he’s showcasing seafood in all its permutations (raw, tinned and cooked), plus imported Spanish preserves and Australian produce.
You might find plates of jamon served with Fabricca’s pan de cristal (Spanish ciabatta), Jatz-like oven-baked crackers topped with anchovies, tomato and a manchego custard; and pinchos a la plancha (skewers cooked over a flat grill): pork neck with whipped cod roe, and hanger steak with liver with potato and sherry. Another menu highlight sees butifarra (a Catalan sausage made in-house at Fabbrica) tossed like a salad with ground pork, clams out of the shell, white beans and broad beans.
Vying for space behind the central wooden bar is an array of vermouths, which are served with an orange wedge, anchovy-stuffed olives, and a small bottle of soda. There’s also an extensive curation of wines that promotes drops from Barcelona’s burgeoning natural wine movement, and Vino de Pasto – unfortified wines made from Palomino grapes in Andalusia.
The bottle shop is more international in scope. There’s a cute table for two in the corner if you feel like settling in to open your bottle, or a corkage fee to take it into the Norfolk next door.