Bon Pinard is the chic new wine bar you need to know, by the clever pair behind Duo and Osteria Uno

Bon Pinard is inspired by the quintessential European wine bar that serves a neighbourhood,” Sarah Macdonald tells me of her and her husband’s new venture, a chic wine bar in the heart of Birkenhead, “it’s a place to catch up with old friends, eat, drink and let time pass by.”

Right: pickled mussels, preserved lemon aioli

Hospitality maestros (and husband and wife) Sarah and Jordan Macdonald are no strangers to the industry, with the talented pair currently running both Duo — an intimate, elevated bistro, and Osteria Uno — the couple’s much-loved Italian eatery (sitting side-by-side on the main drag in Birkenhead). But before teaming up to take over Birkenhead’s dining scene, the pair were already well-known culinary forces, with Jordan behind CBD haunts Culprit, Lowbrow and Little Culprit, and Sarah’s substantive experience including stints in the kitchen at Woodpecker Hill, Culprit and Fed Deli, and an appearance on Masterchef. So, it’s little wonder that the spots these two have so far collaborated on have been wildly successful, and we have no doubt Bon Pinard will follow suit.

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Left to right: marinated aubergine & peppers, selection of local & imported charcuterie and salmon rillette with crostini

Occupying the spot a few shops down from Osteria Uno, Bon Pinard (which translates to ‘good wine’ in French slang) is a low-key, incredibly well-appointed, quaint neighbourhood wine bar with a stunning selection of wines and unpretentious bites, “Bon Pinard is casual and cosy,” Sarah tells me, “it’s the perfect place to drop by for a quick wine and snack or settle in and stay a few hours, and it really feels like it’s always been a part of the neighbourhood.” And from what we’ve seen, it not only feels like it has always been part of the neighbourhood but also as if it could just as easily call any quaint European town home, with an elevated yet low-key vibe that is often hard to emulate.

When it comes to the space itself, the team’s vision of a European wine bar has been perfectly realised, with one of Sarah and Jordan’s partners, Ash from Blanc Industries, conceiving and bringing the design to life, “It features a reclaimed kauri bannister and dado from an old bank in Kingsland, Sarah tells me, “The bar appears to be a hundred years old, but was handmade by his team out of French oak and a lot of detailed panelling. It really brings the vision to life.” There’s also a sun-drenched deck offering protection from the elements — to be enjoyed all year round, and a melange of vintage finds adding to the lived-in ambience.

Left: oritz anchovies, ritz & soubise

Naturally, as a wine bar first and foremost, the offering is extensive and considered — and from what I’ve seen, offers one of the best curations in the city. “The wine list is heavily European- and Kiwi-centric, with a smattering of wines from around the world,” says Sarah. “We’ve curated the list with Olivia, our restaurant manager, with around 40 wines available by the glass and over 100 in total, with a few rare gems thrown in for good measure.”

The offering will be ever-evolving to reflect the magnitude of delicious wines from across the world, but for now, at launch, you’ll find familiar favourites such as Black Estate’s ‘Damsteep’ Riesling Pet Nat alongside an extensive Champagne offering (with a few tasty magnums and rare drops such as a 2003 Dom Perignon), many a crisp, French rosé, a number of interesting varietals spanning both rich reds and textural whites, and a veritable spectrum in between — including what is, in my humble option, the best edit of orange wines in town.

There are also cocktails, aperitifs, a conscience beer list, and tasty ‘lo and no’ options — including NON’s salted raspberry and chamomile natural wine alternative.

riesling sabayon & chocolate mousse

On the food front, Sarah tells me they’re keeping things low key, with bread and butter, charcuterie, truffle-stuffed olives and the like, with several tasty small plates on offer — made for sharing. Oritz anchovies come with Jatz crackers and soubise (a French onion sauce), the macadamia nut hummus with crisps, and the smoked salmon rillettes with crostini. A much-loved Duo favourite, the whipped chicken liver parfait has made it onto the Pinard menu too, but with a twist. And for something sweet to finish there’s a rich and creamy chocolate mousse served with refreshing riesling sabayon. Sarah’s favourite dish? “The standout for me is the Vadouvan spiced braised pork cheek croquette — the perfect dish with a heavy red.”

Bon Pinard, with its tasty food, exceptional drinks, and low-key yet elevated vibe has all the makings of a go-to neighbourhood haunt, and, considering the duo bringing it to life, we have no doubt it will add yet another welcome layer to Birkenhead’s vibrant dining scene.

Opening hours:
Wednesday — Thursday, 3pm until late
Friday — Saturday, 12pm until late
Closed Sunday — Tuesday

Bon Pinard

134a Hinemoa St,


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