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Paddington favourite adds a swanky wine bar

The Weekend Edition

Flexibility is a big part of the hospitality game, especially after two years of spur-of-the-moment pirouettes and pivots. No crew knows this better than the brains over at NOTA – Paddington’s beloved modern-European eatery. 

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After two-ish years of breakfast sittings, take-home packs and artisanal sweet making, the venue has seized the opportunity to acquire its next-door space (previously a clothing store) and convert it to a swanky new wine bar and function area.

Now reopened as NOTA Restaurant & Wine Bar, the team is forging forward with a new outlook and operational scheme. Folks are now free to pop in for impromptu pre-game snacks and a cheeky vino or settle into a leather booth for a lengthier, more leisurely experience.

What a difference four weeks can make. When we first broke word in early April that Given Terrace’s NOTA Restaurant & Wine Bar was in the process of converting its next-door site into a wine bar and flexible function area, owners Sebastiaan de Kort and Kevin Docherty were busy scraping away plaster on the room’s walls to expose the old redbrick underneath.

Fast-forward a month and NOTA’s newly incorporated space looks completely different when we return for a visit – a lengthy five-metre custom shelving unit displays hundreds of bottles of wine and assorted stemware, while the dining floor had been arranged to accommodate two long tables in anticipation of a sizeable group function that evening.

NOTA’s established classic aesthetic of white, tan, black and brass translated across to bring the new room in line with the existing space, where the original bar remains tasked with the dispensing of beers and cocktails. Ask Sebastiaan for his thoughts on NOTA now and he’ll tell you it feels like the restaurant is finally getting started.

When the pandemic arrested the restaurant’s development nigh on a year after its 2019 opening, Sebastiaan and Kevin channelled their energies into just keeping the business running. Now, with lockdowns in the rear view, the duo have taken steps to not only reinvigorate the restaurant’s offering and operational model, but also reignite their own sense of excitement and forward-looking optimism. The new extension is already playing a big part in this process.

NOTA’s new addition not only heralds physical growth for the business, but also a conceptual evolution.  When COVID highlighted the benefits of being versatile, the crew decided that a shake-up – one that improved the venue’s flexibility – was essential to further growth.

NOTA can now host the kind of functions and private bookings that were difficult to accommodate previously as well as greater numbers of walk-in clientele, adding more options for the casual crowd alongside NoirReuben’s Deli & BarKettle & TinElementi and Hope & Anchor. Pre-game feeds and drop-in drinks are now a key part of of NOTA’s focus and this is now reflected in the restaurant’s menu.

New head chef Matteo Pisanu joined NOTA’s kitchen team in November 2021, quickly instilling an ethos of flavourful simplicity that makes the most of ingredients at the seasonal best. Matteo’s malleable menu leads with snacks like house-baked focaccia, four-cheese arancini, tempura fish sandwiches, zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and chilli jam, Casa Motta burrata, and beef carpaccio with tuna mayo, which then segue into larger plates including Fraser Island spanner crab pasta, mushroom risotto, Brisbane Valley quail, pork cutlets and Black Onyx eye fillet with frites.

Restaurant manager and wine connoisseur Yanika Sittisuntorn is overseeing the broadening of NOTA’s wine selection, casting a wide net to source comfort-zone-nudging bottles and varieties that double as conversation starters. The team are aiming to nudge the selection to 120 bottles, ensuring there’s something for everyone across by-the-glass options and high-roller sips (think wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux) available via Coravin.

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