Date night. Not something my husband and I have partaken in much in the last 3.5 years. We love the idea but usually put it in the ‘too hard’ basket. So when we found out that the wine bar ‘The Lane’ had undergone a refurbishment we were both keen to check it out.
I’ve been before with my besties so was really keen to see what they had done. The Lane (previously named Empty Lane) is owned by the same couple that owns the bottle shop Empty Glass next door. They currently don’t have a liquor licence (I’m assured it’s only weeks away) so the concept is that you buy a bottle of wine next door and bring it to The Lane for a meze board and tapas. While I enjoyed my visit last time there were a couple of things lacking – a toilet (I had to duck down to the Piazza) and it was quite cold in the lane area of the bar (my fault, I was underdressed for essentially sitting outside).
As my husband and I arrived I noticed the subtle name change out the front but inside I saw no difference at all with the bar tables and mood lighting I recalled from my previous visit. So what have I missed? Where’s the refurbishment that I was looking forward to checking out? The beautiful owner, who also happens to be a Hills District Mum, Diana escorted us through a door to the back and I was very impressed with the transformation. This area didn’t previously exist and they’ve done a great job of making it a fabulous, funky and cosy wine bar. And it’s warm and there’s a toilet!
The share platter and meze menu is basic but yummy. This is not a formal meal type place but somewhere you sit back, enjoy a wine and graze. We selected The Lane Platter for $49. For those who have been before the menu has been extended to include some tapas options including cheesy polenta chips and arancini balls.
Once we ordered our food we headed next door to the Empty Glass bottle shop to grab our bottle of wine. You can bring your own wine but Miles has such fabulous knowledge of wine that it becomes part of the experience. It’s a funky little bottle shop that you may have frequented when you’ve had dinner at the Piazza. They stock about 350 boutique wines.
With food ordered and wine purchased it was now time to relax. Now for those that haven’t been out for a while, don’t sit and wait for the wine glasses to come. The glasses on the table are not water glasses, they are stemless wine glasses. My husband assures me that these are cool however it reminds me slightly of those times that wine glasses weren’t available and I drank from a glass … but he also adds that it might be the first meal we get through where I don’t knock over my tall wine glass with over-enthusiastic gesturing! So a win in my books – who likes to waste wine?!
Now that I have my wine in my (stemless and trendy) wine glass, I do my usual stick beak around the room and find there’s a real mix of people in the room. Couples, two young men and a lot of women meeting in small groups!
My surveying stops there as our Lane Platter arrives and it is substantial – the ultimate grazing platter. A selection of cheeses from the Hunter Valley Cheese Co, cured meats, pistachio pate, homemade fig, date and walnut chutney, olives, sundried tomatoes and a selection of bread, grissini and crisp-breads. We also tried the figs in prosciutto and the arancini balls which were absolutely delicious! Both hubby and I were full after but if you have space and a sweet tooth there are two dessert platters to choose from.
All in all a great night! The new fit-out at the back is funky, cosy and warm. It will be fabulous once they have a liquor licence. This place is perfect for a cheeky drink before or after the movies or dinner, great for a girls’ night out and also lovely for a relaxed date night.
270 Old Northern Road