Pub spy: Jax Wine and Tapas Bar, Newmarket


Address: 40 Remuera Rd, Newmarket
Ph: (09) 522 1364
Open: Tues-Sun 4pm-11pm

Jax Wine Bar is an absolute treat. Photo / Getty Images
Jax Wine Bar is an absolute treat. Photo / Getty Images

I don't usually open these reviews with outright praise, but I first came here for a tasting event and I was blown away.

This tiny spot just off Newmarket's Broadway is a stunner. From the eclectic decor (it also doubles as a photography gallery) to the exquisite food, I was lost for words.

But let's try to be objective. First, the ambience; it's cool, funky and with room to stretch out without losing that sense of intimacy you get with smaller venues. Second, the service is near perfect - friendly and solicitous without being overpowering.

Then there are the tapas. You won't go hungry and even your pickier friends will be won over by the grub - small portions and lots of them, in proper Spanish style, but with an Asian-Kiwi slant.

For me, though, the piece de resistance is the wine list. Well-chosen and well-aged, it's a dream line-up of New Zealand wines, backed by stunning overseas offerings, particularly the Spanish red selection, which offers beautifully aged wines at a reasonable margin.

The Olivares Jumilla Dulce Monastrell, for example, is a Spanish dessert red that must be tasted to be believed. It's also encouraging to see that wines in the port and sherry categories actually come from Portugal and Spain. Beer drinkers are not forgotten either, with a good range of craft beers from Renaissance, Moa, Emerson, Galbraith's and Hallertau, to name a few, and the cocktail list has something for everyone. The whisky selection is not the biggest but the quality is outstanding.

So there you have it - sorry for drooling in print, but even writing this makes me want to go back for another visit.


Service: 5/5
Drink: 5/5
Food: 5/5
Atmosphere: 5/5
Overall: 5

- Herald on Sunday

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