Paloma is, in many respects, the opposite of Restaurant Labart. While the latter requires a booking well in advance and takes diners on a carefully curated journey with a five-course set menu, Paloma is the kind of place you can pop in on a whim for a pre-dinner wine, enjoy a relaxed snack or two, or settle in for a nightcap. The idea has been rattling around in Alex and Karla Munoz Labart’s minds for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until the space formerly occupied by Burleigh Bar & Bites on James Street popped up that the powerhouse pair decided to go all-in. Envisaged as a quaint neighbourhood wine bar, Paloma makes for a welcome addition to the precinct’s stellar line-up of drinking and dining spots. Hitting the sweet spot between sunset dips and post-dinner drinks, the spunky newcomer is positioned as a relaxed and welcoming space for patrons to discover new drops and savour small plates. As the name would suggest, Paloma Wine Bar is heavily focused on vino. An extensive (and we mean extensive) selection of by-the-glass wines means that visitors can linger a little while, and perhaps more importantly, step out of their go-to wine comfort zones (sorry, no Marlborough sauvignon blanc here) to discover new sips. The ever-changing offering features winemakers from Australia and further afield, with a heady mix of old-world wines sitting pretty next to fun and contemporary drops such as bubbly pet nats and skin-contact varietals. You needn’t boast extensive wine knowledge, as the staff are only too happy to help recommend something based on your tastes.
Accompanying the wine are seven cocktails that deliver a tantalising twist on the classics. The No.2 (homemade ‘Aperol’ and mango sorbet with prosecco poured over the top at your table) and No.6 (watermelon-infused wine, vodka, peppermint gum and verjus) have emerged as the early crowd favourites. Although the venue is firmly centred around quality drops, there is a succinct selection of bites to nibble on from chef Alex Munoz Labart and his team. Designed to complement the libations, the menu offers tastes of fresh oysters with pickled shallot mignonette and burrata with white anchovy and peppers on toast. Due to overwhelming demand, Labart’s famous ‘La Burger‘ also makes an appearance. The space itself features a refined coastal fit-out with an interior that speaks to its beachside locale, featuring leather banquettes in marine-blue hues, hand-blown glass pendant lights from Soktas and ocean-green tiles.
Paloma Wine Bar is officially open! Head to our Stumble Guide for opening times.