Award-winning sommeliers Liz Carey and Paul Guiney are cutting right to the chase with their pop-up wine bar on Collingwood's Smith Street. It's called Semi~Permanent at 92 Smith, and it's there for a good time, not a long time - a short 14-week season on the site of the first incarnation of Lee Ho Fook.
The duo, who shared Gourmet Traveller's award for Maîtres d' of the Year in 2009, open the doors on Thursday 17 September backed by a 40-strong wine list. "It'll be constantly changing, international, accessible," says Carey, who spent the past six years at MoVida. "Wine from people who make really good booze, and wine that likes food. From an Australian perspective it'll be heavier Victoria-wise but that's because so many of our friends are winemakers. We'll have a sake, too, because we've had our eyes opened to it not just as something you drink with Japanese food."
Carey and Guiney, who was most recently treading the boards at Carlton's The Town Mouse, are determined that the drinks come first and the food second. The menu from chef Tanya Bertino (Botanical, Vue de Monde, The Station Hotel) will be simple, rustic and uncomplicated. "Maybe a leg of ham, cooked on the day and sliced and once it's gone, it's gone. We're also talking house-made ricotta with anchovies, that sort of thing," says Carey.
Their friends from the hospitality trade will be popping in for pop-up dinners, too - Christine Manfield is cooking over two nights in December, and O Tama Carey in October.
After their 14 weeks are over - the long-term aim is for a permanent home for Semi~Permanent - the space will be turned by Lee Ho Fook owners David Mackintosh and Peter Bartholomew into Goldfish, serving street-ish Chinese from chef Victor Liong.
Semi~Permanent at 92 Smith, 92 Smith St, Collingwood, Vic, 0484 323 834