At The Bar with Chef Tom Sarafian at Avani Winery This Summer

A Middle Eastern cuisine arrives at the family-owned boutique winery Avani Wines in Red Hill this summer for a culinary collaboration you won’t want to miss.

Renowned Melbourne chef Tom Sarafian works with seasonal produce to deliver his iconic Middle Eastern flavours – the dishes paired with Avani’s unique minimal intervention wines for the occasion.

You’ll know Sarafian for his delicious handmade small batch tubs of hummus, toum and harissa which you can find stocked all around Melbourne. We can’t get enough of them!

There’s three other chefs taking part in the summer series too, including husband and wife team Harry Mangat and Sandy Soerjadhi from Biji Dining. They will also host a one-off feast in collaboration with Kyle Nicol from Lilac Wine Bar.

The season kicks off on Tuesday 26 December and runs through until Sunday 14 January at the Red Hill South Cellar Door on the Mornington Peninsula.

“It’s a real pleasure to work with the Singh family at their amazing Avani Wines Cellar Door in Red Hill, such a beautiful part of Victoria,” says Tom Sarafian.

“The place is transformative and feels like you could be anywhere in the world. Their wines are amazing and pair so beautifully with spice laden foods with punchy acidity and big smoky barbecue flavours,” he says.

Collaborating is part of Sarafian’s foodie hustle, and those that come together organically work the best – a pop-up at Bar Liberty earlier this year is certainly a memorable one.

“I love collaborating with passionate people like the Avani team who are the top of their game,” he says. “Collaborating with other talented individuals who are so passionate about what they do inspires me to be better at what I do.

“It’s fun, exciting and there’s always a lot to take away from the experiences. Just being around people who are so obsessed and passionate about their honed skills is truly inspiring for me,” says Sarafian.

Tom Sarafian talks to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.

MY CITY

Melbourne. I’ve lived in this amazing city for most of my life, growing up in St Kilda was amazing, especially being close to beaches. I didn’t spend much time north side until I moved here around 10 years ago and quickly fell in love with the exciting neighbourhood restaurants, bars and beautiful gardens.  I feel so lucky to live in such an incredibly diverse city with so much to offer.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Celebratory meals like birthdays and Christmas at my grandparent’s home in Mulgrave were always very memorable occasions. We would all feast at their long dinner table completely filled with beautiful mezze. My grandfather, Zareh was an amazing chef, his generous and over bearing hospitality was really special and has always inspired my style of cooking.

Photo by Parker Blain

FAVOURITE BAR

Caretakers Cottage – Caretakers is too much fun. Awesome cocktails, great music, tasty bar menu, great staff, incredible space. It’s a perfect oasis tucked away from the busy city. I recommend starting and finishing the night with an ice cold shot of fernet branca menta.

A DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

A sherry cobbler. I love ice cold fino or manzanilla sherry, add citrus and sugar and you have three of my favourite things in an awesome refreshing drink.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Nothing beats a kebab. An Adana from Katik in Campbellfield or Miksa fixes everything, especially a hangover.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

Sonny in Hobart.  It’s hard to put your finger on just what is so special about this place, but I think the magic lies in the art of simplicity. Genuine world class hospitality breaks the rules, turns the lights down, and the music up, almost as high as the flavours smacking you in the face and being washed down with something delicious that Al’s snuck into your hand while you were turning to the person next to you asking how is this place that good?

FAVOURITE WINE

I love vibrant, crunchy, savoury wines full of spice, and locally Owen Latta is making some of the best in the country.

FAVOURITE WINERY

Avani Wines in Red Hill. Run by the loveliest family, with incredible wines and in the most beautiful location. I’ve had many beautiful meals here, and it always feels so peaceful and like you could be anywhere in the world.

NEXT DESTINATION 

Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Isla Holbox. My partner and I travelled to Mexico in 2019, and were blown away by the food, culture, and beauty of the country, particularly Holbox – a small fishing island with an incredible spirit. We are very excited to head back, particularly for all the amazing food in Oaxaca.

AVANI WINES SUMMER SERIES:

  • Saadi pop-up – Tuesday 26 to Sunday 31 December ($80pp)
  • Tom Sarafian pop-up – Tuesday 2 to Sunday 7 January ($95pp)
  • Biji Dining – Tuesday 9 to Saturday 13 January ($95pp)
  • Biji Dining X Kyle Nicol (Lilac Wine Bar) – Sunday 14 January ($115pp)

 

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