On a balmy evening, and after a few wrong turns in the alleyways of Darlinghurst, we finally heard the excited chatter and turned a corner to find Love Tilly Devine, an almost-hidden gem of a wine bar. We were relieved to find a table, and were quickly seated and presented with the substantial wine list, food offerings and a small bowl of olives.
With about 25 pages of wines versus the single page of small plates of food, it’s clear that wine is really the star here. With extra pages dedicated to pushing certain varietals (Riesling), winemakers (JJ Prüm) and regions (Jura) there’s plenty to take in (and plenty to occupy someone waiting for their perpetually late companion). Not having the full evening to settle in and devour a bottle, we choose from the decent range of wines by the glass (although all whites are Riesling in celebration of the Summer of Riesling), choosing the 2011 RS19 Riesling from MacForbes wines (Victoria) ($13). It’s a great choice – a hint of residual sugar balancing the lemon-lime acidity.
Of course the complimentary olives are never going to be enough, so we choose the plate of three cheeses, accompanied by a generous mound of crispy flatbread, walnuts and pear slices ($24). We get three Australian cheeses, and they are delicious, particularly the Tasmanian Pyengana cloth-bound cheddar, far punchier than any other Australian cheddar I’ve tasted giving me renewed confidence that I might get my required serving of tasty cheese without resorting to imports.
Love Tilly Devine is a friendly place well worth the effort of finding. The wine leads the way but is well supported by the high quality seasonal food. I’m sure I’ll be back.
Grape variety score: Viognier (my favourite)
Love Tilly Devine
91 Crown Lane, Darlinghurst
Tuesday to Saturday 5pm-12 midnight