One of the most exciting events in the Eastern suburbs in recent times has been the opening of small bar and wine store, King Somm, in King William Street in Bayswater. Housed in an historic building which has over the years seen many tenants – I recall at least a second hand bookshop – and which has had a fabulous makeover. Entering up a corridor adjacent to the kitchen of Jane Dough Pizza – which also supplies the food offerings to the bar – you enter a large open area with a mix of benches and tables – bar to one side – down a flight of steps to the wine store – or continuing to the back to an outdoor courtyard – where your mutt is welcome too.
The winestore houses an eclectic collection of wines – featuring a number of boutique makers, natural wines, Australian and international entrants, altogether a very interesting collection. And you can either buy to take home, or drink in with a small cover charge.
A blackboard behind the bar lists the by the glass selection which changes often all overseen by manager Colleen Carney, who worked at Duende in Leederville for a number of years and brings this experience to King Somm. After a few glasses first up – rosé, skin contact white and Marq Gamay, on our second visit we sat down to a bottle of Paul Nelson Gamay – from the Great Southern this has crushed strawberries, raspberries and violets on the nose, tart cherry and raspberry flavours and a smoky waft to conclude.
While pizza takes the pride of place among the food offerings, chef Ben Atkinson, late of Meat Candy, is also turning out a selection of cold cuts as well as hush puppies, anchovies, crudo, lamb ribs, olives and more. On our two visits to date we have tried two of the 6 pizzas – mushroom, truffle and chilli, on the first occasion, and anchovy, roasted capsicum, San Marzano tomatoes and salmoriglio on the second.
Both were excellent – crisp, bubbling crust, a good covering of tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, chilli all with the waft and flavour of truffles; while the second again had a top crust, the tomato topping was rich and sweetly flavoured cut through by the saltiness of the fish and garlicky, lemon and parsley flavours and aromatics from the salmoriglio.
King Somm has been highly anticipated since it was first mooted, and judging from our experience the anticipation has been answered. This is a fabulous addition to Bayswater, and surrounding areas– a real neighbourhood gathering place. Excellent food and wine, great atmosphere – King Somm has it all.