Secrets of the Back Room
STORY AND IMAGES BY RICHARD CORNISH
There is a precarious lean on the brick wall of the room out back of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Carefully and securely bolstered by smart architectural formwork it is part of the bohemian nature of this quiet and secluded little salon warmed by an open fire and flooded with smooth tunes from ‘60s soul artists. While the main bar at The Cosmo, as this old pub is known by locals, is a fun and gregarious meeting place, and the dining room often bustling, the Cosmopolitan Cellar and Store is quiet, sedate, almost serene. It is one of the region’s hidden spaces and the word is yet to get out.
Apart from the leaning wall, and the doorjamb built to match, the other interesting architectural feature are the brick nogged walls. These is a construction technique in which bricks are used to fill the vacancies in the wooden framework and dates to the 1860s when the pub was originally built. The room is large and airy and above the fireplace is a voluptuous nude surrounded by Mexican trumpet flowers painted by local artist Catherine Abel. There are a few simple bistro style tables and chairs, an ornate lounge and a comfortable sofa sitting on the old worn floorboards.
The offer is simple. Come here to try and drink wine from the local wine regions. There are wines on pour for free tasting. If you like what you tried you can order a glass, take it to the lounge by the fire and enjoy it at your leisure. There are 14 wines by the glass mostly all local wines. “This is still such an underrated region for wine,” says Rod. “And because of that they’re still great value for exceptional quality wines.” What we at LOST liked were the extremely reasonable mark ups on the wines with nothing more expensive, even for the very best, than $12.50 a glass. We also like the compact bar menu offering spiced nuts, marinated olives, chickpea zucchini and sweet corn fritters and a cheese and charcuterie board.
Apart from a large mirror the back wall the room is lined with around 70 different wines from the local region as well as wines from around Bendigo and Ballarat. These are all for sale for takeaway as other cheeses, salume and charcuterie in the deli cabinet.
“We have a relationship with local winemakers,” says Rod. “They keep back special releases for us so you can come in here and get wines that are hard to come by elsewhere. For example the winemaker at Paramour has a great Pinot Gris blend. Our customers love it. But he stopped making it. Thankfully, and lucky for customers, he is put away a stash just for us.” Each month Rod features a wine and this month, September, he is featuring the wines of the legendary winemaker Lou Knight from Granite Hills who will be coming to the Cellar and Store this month. Go to the website below for details.
Cosmopolitan Cellar and Store,
The Cosmopolitan Hotel,
21 – 27 High-Street, Trentham; Open Wednesday to Sunday 12 pm to 9:30 pm; thecosmopolitanhotel.com.au