Bar Copains Is a Surry Hills Wine Bar By Good Friends Morgan McGlone and Nomad’s Founding Chef, Nathan Sasi
Don’t go to Bar Copains to flash a photo of a rare wine you saw on Instagram. While they may have it, co-owners Morgan McGlone (Sunday, ex-Belle’s Hot Chicken) and Nathan Sasi (founding chef at Nomad, Mercado and Adelaide’s Leigh Street Wine Room) can’t stand favor or label-chasing.
“I don’t want to come across as an asshole, but some people drink it just for status. I want the wines to be enjoyed by people who respect them. They understand where it’s coming from,” McGlone told Broadsheet.
This is not snobbery. It’s love and respect for the wine – especially since a significant portion of what’s in Bar Copains’ cellar comes from McGlone and Sasi’s personal wine collections, which are thousands strong and have been compiled over decades. Not everything is on site, but there is a lovely selection of small producers and classic Australian wines (such as Tyrrell’s), with lots of natural wines and super-rare drops. They have recently sold unicorns such as a 2015 Pierre Gonon St-Joseph, and a 2011 Domaine du Collier Saumur Blanc.
Bar Copains is first and foremost a wine bar, but it’s hard to look past Sasi’s skill in the kitchen. “I am partners with one of the finest skilled masters of this generation of chefs,” says McGlone. “Where I would stop, he goes another four steps, and that is to the benefit of the customer.”
Sasi’s menu is constantly changing. As an ideal accompaniment to a chablis or chardonnay, there are Sydney rock oysters from the South Coast served with mignonette and anchovy toast, plus choux buns filled with Comté custard.
There’s also Murray cod cooked over an open flame on the custom Japanese konro grill, a nod to Sasi’s days at Nomad. Bluefin tuna belly is served with soy and mustard sauce, pickled kohlrabi, fermented chilli and fresh horseradish. For vegetarians, crispy aubergine is served with tomato jam and salted ricotta, and there are tomatoes accompanied by squeezed watermelon and goat’s cheese.
McGlone and Sasi have moved in the same social circles since the ’90s, but they became close during their time together at the celebrated Southern-style restaurant Husk in Nashville (McGlone was chef de partie while Sasi performed) and have kept in touch over the years . Inspired by that time, McGlone (who also has the celebrated French bistro, Flinders Inn on his CV, which he opened in Sydney in 2009) moved to Melbourne in 2014 to open Belles Hot Chicken. He is now sold out, but Belles remains in operation today.
The idea for Bar Copains is almost as old as McGlone and Sasi’s friendship. “Copains” is a French word for friends. McGlone admits it will be a new chapter for them. “It’s not easy – I was a boss, Nathan was a boss, but now we have to navigate respect for each other, our friendship, our business relationship, and be sensitive with how we react to certain things and how we talk to each other ,” says McGlone. (Sasi’s wife, Sali Sasi, is also a partner in the business.)
The two struck a fine balance: McGlone is so affable and magnetic, it’s clear that the front end is his forte, while Sasi is at home practicing his craft in the kitchen. “I’m very happy with the way it went. We couldn’t have asked for a better start,” says McGlone
67 Albion Street, Surry Hills
Thu to Sat 12pm – late
Sun 1pm – late
Mon 4pm – late