Coming together for a good feed with great wine in a relaxed setting was the inspo behind one of Nightcliff’s rising stars of the hospo scene. Co-owners Ryan Hamilton, a chef, and Manfred Mletsin, an accountant, are the driving force behind Porkin’, with great ambition to grow the biz into something more.
By Tierney Seccull
“The original plan for starting up Porkin’ was the wholesale charcuterie, and for us to be producing our own charcuterie,” says Hamilton.
“It was to have a wholesale and retail side for that, but also to offer a real chill sort of laid-back wine bar with charcuterie, cheeses, things like that ... We're slowly getting there, little by little.”
Throwing open the doors just 16 months ago, Porkin’ has occupied the supermarket space in the Aralia Street shops. It still trades as a supermarket – and will continue to do so – with all the usual suspects like eggs, milk, and fruit and veg, plus deli meats, fresh baked goods, coffee, wine, and more.
Their paella has been a hot favourite onsite every Friday evening. They’ve also fed the masses at Darwin Cocktail Festival, Darwin Festival and Darwin Gin Festival, and have been found flipping burgers or dishing out tacos on the regular at Willing Distillery.
The next step in their plan for world domination is that “laid-back wine bar”, but first, they’re going to need a good kitchen.
“It's all still coming – the process of getting my kitchen built which was bigger than I thought, but we are dreaming large,” says Hamilton.
Regardless of kitchen size, the Porkin’ crew successfully rolled out their first six-course degustation last month paired with wines from Chaffey Bros. Wine Co., the winemaker also in attendance to chat through tasting notes. Hamilton says it’s something we can expect to see more of.
“Pending licensing, we’ll start to do some more events and open our wine bar, so we’ll have a few little activations for that, and some cool little tapas and share plates.”
The end goal is to break beyond the existing walls to allow for al fresco dining – perfect for the Dry season. They’ll also continue to work in cahoots with Dom’s Bar down the arcade corridor, this sharing of clientele and resources not uncommon in the local bar scene, camaraderie valued just as much as the competition.
And if the first year is anything to go by, we're in for a Porkin’ good time.
“This first year has gone super quick and I’m amazingly happy with what we’ve achieved so far,” Hamilton says.
If you’re keen to see what flavours lie ahead in the wine bar, why not order one of their picnic hampers and pick up a bottle of vino? They've also got something in the works for Airbnb hosts, with kits to include staples like milk, free-range eggs, deli meats, and cheese. Delivered.
But in the meantime, head in-store to see what tasty treats Porkin’ has in store for you.
“Come in for some good cheese, some really fun low vibe wines … enjoy the sunset down on the Foreshore and check out the other food trucks they’ve got down there.”
WHEN MON-THU, 7AM-8PM | FRI & SAT, 7AM-9PM | SUN, 8AM-3PM
AT ARALIA STREET, NIGHTCLIFF
Inset: Owners Ryan Hamilton & Manfred Mletsin. Photo supplied by Darwin Festival