[This story first appeared in Koktail Magazine Issue 4, available online here.]
All photos by Chaiwat Kangsamrith.
Tucked away in Soi Vibhavadi Rangsit 16, this hideout was named after a town in Sydney, where Korean owner and pastry chef Hosi Hwang spent six years residing. “The dockside suburb of Woolloomooloo was one of my favourite places to hang out,” she tells us. “The area is known for its fine coffee, dining scene, hip bars, and charming water views.” But before you assume that Hosi’s place is remotely Aussie-inspired—it is not. Rather, the charming two-storey space is reflective of Hwang’s third-culture persona: casual-cool, sleek, and welcoming.
After three years as a modest yet successful cake shop, Woolloomooloo has had a location upgrade in the same soi and restyled itself as a café by day and, from Friday to Sunday, a natural wine bar by sundown—a combination of Hosi’s patisserie finesse and boozy passion. The business’ sweet beginnings have attracted loyal fans who are still quick to reserve seasonal lineups that taste as dreamy as they look, as well as customisable special-occasion cakes. Now, Woolloomooloo is enticing both old and new customers with unique wines.
“As a natural wine lover, I wanted to introduce it to Thailand. The community here is still very niche compared to other countries,” she says. “The concept for our bar is: Where cake meets natural wine. We pair savoury items from our daytime menu with our hand-picked bottles.”
If you’re new to the world of natural wine and spot Hosi at the bar, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation or ask her for recommendations—she’ll be more than happy to spread the love. Funky (think kombucha) and flavourful with no artificial components, they embody a different character compared to commercial wines.
“I am five years into drinking natural wine, and I’m hooked,” she laughs. “I love the storytelling aspect that comes with each winery. The growers are usually young, and generally, I feel that there are less boundaries when it comes to experimentation. These wines are more fun to drink for me. I also love the labels, especially when producers collaborate with artists.”
Paying a visit on a rainy Friday night, on the first floor, we are greeted by a neat display of pretty cakes and small plates. We ogle at a few before making our way up the marble staircase to cloud wine, where hip hop beats fill the air just loud enough to set the mood without inconveniencing conversation. Opposite a striking graffiti wall is a display of bottles of natural wine on arched shelving that complements the dining setup’s curvaceous, baby blue furniture. There’s a spot for a DJ booth ready to pump up the jams on nu-disco nights. Planning a visit with a large group? A larger table is available in a (sort of) private corner.
The food items on the menu change weekly and the by-the-glass selection almost daily as Hosi prefers to regularly switch things up. Prices are reasonable as she works closely with her local suppliers and importers. When in season, get the night started with the white peach salad (180 baht). A refreshing combination of the juicy fruit with cream cheese, roasted nuts, white balsamic, and olive oil, the serving is perfectly paired with a glass of Pasqua’s 11 Minutes Rosé (280 baht per glass), which features bright and fruity notes.
Do not miss the signature dill cake (400 baht) either. Highlighting savoury layers of plump prawns, avocado, white bread, cucumber, almonds, and dill cream, accompany each bite with bubbly sips of Jerome Forget’s Fossey Poiré (245 baht per glass). For heavier morsels, the rigatoni carbonara (240 baht) is a classic hit, and you may want to end with a platter of ultra-rich terrine cheese (140 baht) topped with fresh cream, olive oil, and lemon zest.
Woolloomooloo also offers tapas-style platters, including cold cuts (160 baht), cheese plates (160 baht), and truffle french fries with truffle cream (250 baht). Always check out Hosi’s daily by-the-glass selections for unique refreshers such as Alexis Hudon’s Groseille (260 baht per glass), a light-bodied red with cherry notes, and Progetto Calcarius’ Nü Litr Orange (290 baht per glass), a great introductory orange wine.
When asked if the under-the-radar location is ever an issue, Hosi says she loves the humble address and really appreciates how their customers make the effort to visit them.
What can we say? Definitely drop by if you’re around, or make it a fun date and don’t forget to cab and carpool! Peace, love, and wine await.
Woolloomooloo Cafe & Bar
20 Vibhavadi Rangsit Soi 16
Open Mon, Wed, Thu 8am–5pm
Fri–Sun 8am–5pm, 6pm–midnight