Former rugby league player Hassan Saleh has turned his hand to wine bars, opening his first in Randwick.
It’s stylish and keenly priced, but then Hassan has hospitality in his blood, with his father, Charlie Saleh owning the ever-popular Sapphire Suite in Kings Cross.
Hassan is a movie buff; so kick things off with Dusk Till Dawn ($15), a tequila, lemon and Licor 43 concoction from his cinematic list.
His biggest score is getting Cypriot Chef Chrys Xipolitas (aka actress Ada Nicodemou’s hubby) in his kitchen.
Xippo - as he’s affectionately known - has one of his female relatives hand-making arguably the best (and certainly the fluffiest) Haloumi ($14) in Sydney.
His famous sauce makes a bowl of Pipis ($18) with chilli, garlic and ginger disappear very quickly.
The grass-fed Flinders Island Pork Belly ($16) is particularly flavoursome, but my favourite dish...
...is 5-hour braised Lamb Kleftiko ($16) wrapped in warm, house-made pita bread with creamy tzatziki.
It’s particularly good with an accompanying glass of Covers D'Or Pinot Noir ($10) from the Mornington Peninsula.
Round up a posse of four to take best advantage of the generous sharing plates, and kick off with a pile of Moreton Bay Bugs ($22), because at this price, your friends are bound to be impressed!
69 Perouse Road, Randwick
Ph: (02) 9398 7994