East End Cellars is one of this country’s most enduring retailers of fine wine, with Michael Andrewartha’s Vardon Street store offering Adelaide an unparalleled selection for over two decades. Today, the original site is occupied by the wine bar Mother Vine, which he also owns. The original East End Cellars flame burns bright, though, with a move to bigger premises across the road made back in 2014.
That move enabled the expansion from a more or less traditional bricks and mortar retailer into a whole new sphere, which saw the construction of the Tasting Room, thereby discouraging regular customers from leaving the shop until they absolutely have to. Described as being “more than tapas but not a restaurant,” you can expect to find the usual wine-bar suspects here, with cured meats and cheeses imported directly from France and Spain, and an array of terrine, pâté and the like.
They go long on sandwiches, but ones far removed from the pedestrian. Think smoked trout, pea shoots, native pepperberry, mayo, lemon and herbs on toasted ciabatta, or a hot sopressa, fior di latte, gouda, roasted mushroom and caramelised onion toastie. Share plates include roasted cauliflower with toasted spices and whipped tahini, smoked kingfish croquetas, and burrata with broccolini and anchovy pangrattato. And if all that’s not enough, you can order a whole roast Nomad Farm heritage chicken with greens and kipfler potatoes to share.
All of this, naturally, is to support the wine, which can be taken by the glass from a broad-ranging selection of 30-odd to coughing up a very reasonable $15 corkage fee to access anything from the many thousands of bottles available in the cellar. The cellar ticks all the boxes you may expect for a South Australian wine retailer, but it ranges wide, too, with bottlings from pretty much everywhere where grapes are grown (and at all price points), including a range of exclusive imports, mainly from Burgundy, Champagne and Piedmont.