At The Bar with Pipi’s Kiosk Sommelier Tom Hunter

Tom Hunter is Co-Owner and Sommelier of Pipi’s Kiosk in Albert Park, known for its contemporary breezy Australian menu as much as it is adored for its foreshore views. When it comes to the wine list, Hunter is  all about finding the sweet spot between comfort and curiosity. He talks to The Write Drop about where he heads for a cocktail in Melbourne, a fave spot in Sydney and a cellar door with family ties on the Mornington Peninsula.

MY CITY

We live in Middle Park, in the heart of Melbourne, nice and close to Pipis Kiosk. We love being close to the water and its proximity to the city is super handy.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

On my first trip to Burgundy we ate at a local Bistro in Beaune called Ma Cuisine. Dining with a fellow wine tragic, we enjoyed multiple stunning bottles and some birth year Marc Spirit – 1983 for the record. The cuisine is classic French bistro. Wine friendly, rich and comforting. It was however a late-night scramble, in the owner’s Mercedes, to his son’s ‘pub’ that was truly memorable. The ‘pub’ specialised in grower champagnes and had 15 options by the glass. The evening was long and full of new friends and hazy memories… a classic night on tour.

FAVOURITE BAR  
As with the rest of Melbourne, it’s a cold Guinness with a cocktail chaser at Caretaker’s Cottage. The owners Ryan, Rob and Matt are old friends I have worked with in the past – always good tunes, banter and quality drinks. They do a great take on a classic martini. On my last visit, the drink was named, ‘Life Ban’. It consisted of Beefeater Gin, fino sherry, house dry vermouth and a native mint oil for garnish. As far as I can remember, I’m still welcome back.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU
A Long Island Iced Tea: Everyone likes at least one of the ingredients, a lethal combination none the less.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

A Gin and Tonic always works best. Don’t fight it.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

Love, Tilly Devine, a fantastic Sydney wine bar owned by Mark Swiboda. Great food and an epic list of curio-wines.

FAVOURITE WINE RIGHT NOW

It would have to be White Burgundy. Meursault is a particular love. The wines are elegant yet powerful. If I could afford to drink it every day I would. These wines are pretty rare, but look for an upcoming producer called Pierre Girardin. His wines are relatively undiscovered, but exceptional.

FAVOURITE WINERY

Pier 10 on the Mornington Peninsula. Stop past the cellar door and enjoy a great glass overlooking Western Port Bay. It’s one of the oldest in the area and is run by my sister and brother-in-law, Catherine and Scott.

NEXT DESTINATION

I really want to travel to Bhutan, a place that has only recently become accessible to tourists. It’s long been a dream since I lived in Asia (Myanmar) many moons ago. The cuisine is unique and has a Himalayan vibe. Think rich curries and weird drinks made from yak milk. It’s pretty off grid and that has a lot of appeal when you run a busy restaurant.

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