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Canberra Today 3°/5° | Sunday, May 22, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

A place of fizzy, pink, sour and bright things

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON savours a Paranormal experience in Campbell. 

PARANORMAL Wines’ website pitches its personality perfectly: “We like fizzy things, pink things, orange things, sour things, light and bright things – interesting drops made from grapes.”

Owner Max Walker brings his experience from Spanish tapas bar MoVida Aqui (Melbourne) and LP’s Quality Meats (restaurant and shop in Sydney) to an inviting spot in Campbell across the road from Hassett Park. It didn’t take long for Paranormal Wines to become a destination.

Rows and rows of wines motivate customers to explore at their leisure, knowing that bottles don’t need to be cellared before being ready to enjoy. 

In addition to bottled wine from Australia and further afield, Paranormal has a by-the-glass menu with rotating specials ($10 to $20). On our visit, options included a Gentle Folk Blanc, Continental Rose and a Honky Chateau Cab Shiraz. 

While a retail shop, Paranormal Wines is also a place to sit, sip and snack.

Aidan Kidson – formerly eightysix and Bar Rochford – heads the kitchen and is creative with the snack line-up (which changes, btw), starting with a simple sourdough and olive oil ($4) or marinated olives ($6). Being introduced the day after our visit were heartier dishes such as pasta.

Our first wine was the Milton Chenin Blanc (2020; $32 plus $15 corkage), from a biodynamic wine estate in NZ). It was sensational with the tapas-style snacks we had selected. 

First up was a creamy white bean dip and we loved the whole beans decorating the top and the drizzle of olive oil circling the dish ($14). Perfect with toast. 

We relaxed over easy-going leek croquettes created with Italian Taleggio cheese ($15). They were bursts of joy.

Burrata is all the rage in restaurants these days and the handcrafted Vannella Cheese version served at Paranormal is a mega hit ($12). Made with mozzarella and fresh cream, this showstopper cheese has an inviting, soft texture and is served in a Mount Zero extra virgin, with luxurious olive oil making it even more irresistible.

The finale was the duck and pork rillettes, with tart cornichons and a side dollop of vibrant Newman’s mustard (SA), also served with toast ($16). The rillettes went well with our second wine, the organic Casa Belfi Bianco ($37), which is vinified in small quantities in Venice. It’s unfiltered so it has a cloudy appearance – no sugar, sulphur or synthetic chemicals. For some, this wine would be on the “funky” side.

Other food items during our visit, guaranteed to ramp up the taste buds, included sardines with toast or anchovies on toast (both $14), mortadella ($12) and a selection of two cheeses ($20).

In addition to wines, customers can buy fine foods, including mustards, pickles, tomato sauces, honey and olives from quality producers such as On the Side, LC and Quinby’s.

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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