Fine Sips & Savory Bites: Vecina Wine Bar's Neighbourly Delights

Vecina, Newcastle

Vecina is a bar located in Newcastle's light industrial area of Wickham. The small bar is the direct neighbour and little sister of Flotilla, one of Newcastle's best restaurants and opened up just a couple of months ago in December 2023. Vecina serves up smart and snappy bar snacks along with a menu of cocktails that change regularly. Plus if you're a wine lover, the wine list is around 400 wines strong while the ever changing cocktail list is full of hits.

Restaurant manager Eduardo Molina points up at the small space above the 34 seater Flotilla restaurant and says, "There are 12 fridges up there for wine". When I squint trying to find the space for these fridges and look surprised he grins and says, "It's all my doing." Eduardo was offered an equal share in the business at the end of 2022 and joined Flotilla's owners Silverchair’s former bassist Chris Joannou and Zach Scholtz. "I've always been running from something and that's how I ended up in Newcastle. I'm stoked to be here and love being part of the hospitality scene in the constantly evolving Newcastle."

Vecina, Newcastle

In December 2023 the trio opened up Vecina a wine bar next door to Flotilla. The name Vecina is Spanish for neighbour - Vecina is Flotilla's direct neighbour. Ever since Flotilla opened up 5 years ago, it has attracted foodies. The restaurant seats just 34 and customers love the combination of fine dining food but with a more casual atmosphere. The head chef is Jake Deluca.

Set in a light industrial area of Wickham, it is a destination restaurant and you have to know to go there. And if you were unable to get a booking at Flotilla, you can drop in to Vecina and get a taste of their food via the bar menu. On Wednesdays they fire up the Mibrasa charcoal grill and offer dry aged steaks.

Vecina, Newcastle
Tulum Cocktail $20

The wine list is a thick tome with what Eduardo describes as, "Around 400 wines on the menu plus another hundred that are waiting for their time to come." The list is made up of cool climate wines, small producers and alternative wines. Both the food and cocktail menus change every 6 weeks and the cocktails are created by their bar manager Maria. Eduardo brings me a cocktail from a previous menu called the Tulum made with Tequila Reposado, chartreuse, honey, jalapeno and coriander, a complex and utterly delicious drink with sweetness, herbaceousness and spice.

Vecina, Newcastle
Clockwise from top: chicken liver parfait $22, Gilda $4 each, Mussels Escabeche $4 each

Whatever you order you must start with their gilda, their take on the classic Pintxos. Their Gilda has a slice of pickled capsicum added to them that balances the strong flavours with a sweet mellowness. They're so moreish that I immediately have another. The Tasmanian black mussels are piquant and plump topped with pickled carrot discs while the chicken liver parfait is housed in a crisp shell with dabs of Madeira jelly on top.

Vecina, Newcastle
Tempura Zucchini Flower honey, parmesan $6 each

The tempura zucchini flower is another must order if you see it on the menu. With honey and a thick blanketing of grated parmesan the tempura outer is so crisp and crunchy while the soft herbed ricotta filling full of flavour. You definitely want at least one of these to yourself.

Vecina, Newcastle
Manchego Croquettes $5

The croquettes change every week and this week's is manchego croquettes that are tasty, crunchy filled with oozy manchego bechamel cheese and grated machego on top.

Vecina, Newcastle
Beef Tartare $26

Another must try is the beef tartare made using Black Onyx beef from Orange, NSW. This is served already mixed together with horseradish with a dollop of thick egg jam on top that looks like an egg yolk. The gnocco fritto or deep fried fritters look like tiny fried ravioli and pair perfectly to scoop up the beef onto.

Vecina, Newcastle
Negroni $16

There are two desserts on the menu both from different ends of the spectrum. The negroni is perfect for a hot evening with a blood orange sorbet and Campari with a sticky blood orange marmalade.

Vecina, Newcastle
Vanilla pannacotta $16

The vanilla panna cotta is a milky, loosely set panna cotta that is actually quite liquid with cherries and sugared crostoli. The crunchy crostoli are crunchy and balance the milky panna cotta well.

So tell me Dear Reader, are you more a wine or cocktail person? Which snack caught your eye?

NQN dined as a guest of Vecina but all opinions remain her own.


9 Albert St, Wickham NSW 2293

Wednesday to Saturday 4–11 pm

Closed Sunday - Tuesday

Phone: (02) 4965 3885

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