By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

The team behind The Dolphin have introduced a new Aperitivo Hour activation, with frequent guest appearances from some of Australia’s best chefs and winemakers.

The Dolphin Hotel in Sydney has turned the happy hour concept on its head, updating the activation with a lean to aperitif culture. Aperitivo Hour will be held in the hotel’s wine room on Sunday to Thursday from 5-7pm, with snacks and a short drinks list, all priced at $5-7.

The concept was introduced by co-owner and director Maurice Terzini, drawing on his experiences of hospitality at the Melbourne Wine Room.  Executive Chef Monty Koludrovic and Wine Director James Hird have taken the lead on the activation, curating a list of snacks such as prosciutto and grissini, Tuscan fried chicken and anchovy toast, complemented by 5-6 drinks, including wines, beer and aperitif-style cocktails.

Hird says the concept takes the trusty happy hour concept and pushes it a little further, making it great value for money for patrons.

“The culture of happy hours in pubs in Australia focusses normally on different products. We really liked the idea of pushing the boundaries a little to incorporate snacks and drinks beyond schooners. It’s really affordable too – a happy hour has to over-deliver. It makes it really accessible to everyone which is a great starting point to explore the wine room’s offerings and meet some new people.”

As part of Aperitivo Hour, The Dolphin will host guest chefs on occasion, who will put their own spin on snacks. The line-up for the next few months includes the likes of Mitch Orr from Acme, ‘Irish’ Mulholland from Momofuko Seiobo, David Moyle from Franklin in Hobart, and CJ Wells from Automata.

Winemakers will also curate the list on specific nights, and will be on hand to pour the wines and discuss them with patrons – something Hird believes patrons will appreciate.

“It’s great to be able to meet producers, chefs and taste with them their wines and dishes. It’s amazing to be able to do this in a relaxed environment and be able to share this with them directly. It’s a great opportunity to meet and share stories without committing to a big night out.”

Hird says getting industry colleagues on board was quite simple after explaining the concept. He also suggests that even without guest chefs and winemakers, the Aperitivo Hour will bring something different to Sydney’s mid-week pub scene.

“Maurice, Monty and I really wanted to bring friends into the space to share their stories. It was really organic – a few phone calls and texts and we had a pretty amazing program on our hands. At its core though, the Apertivo program stands on its own.”

The schedule for guest appearances can be viewed here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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