Shun Eto, Group Curator of Wine, Ovolo Hotels
multiple locations, ovolohotels.com.au
“In my experience, the most successful wine lists are a narrative about the symbiotic relationship between the different bottles of wine,” says Shun Eto, the Group Curator of Wine at Ovolo Hotels.
The fast-growing Hong Kong hotel chain now has seven different locations across four Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra – and Eto oversees all the wine lists at the hotels’ attached venues, as well as Ovolo Central in Hong Kong.
“We recently opened VEDA, at Ovolo Central. The wine list is all Australian. It’s the first five-star hotel restaurant in all of Asia to do that,” Eto tells us. “It’s wicked that we have the opportunity to celebrate Australian wine in Hong Kong. We also have Aussie spirits such as Four Pillars Gin and beers by Feral Brewing Company and Stone & Wood on the list. I feel so proud and honoured to have written it.”
In Australia, one of the flagship restaurants is Alibi Bar & Kitchen at Ovolo Woolloomoolo, where the menu is 100% plant based, a factor which, naturally, affected the wine list.
“Our pairing at Alibi of Kelp Noodles Cacio e Pepe, a cold dish, with the 2018 Ephemera Nero d’Avola from Heathcote, a juicy lo-fi red, flipped me when we started experimenting – all my previous conventions of wine pairings had to be thrown out. In the dish, pepper and olives dominate so I went with what pairs with that, breaking it down and matching it with a medium-bodied, peppery red. It was a revelation.”
At home, cooking is Eto’s hobby, and what he describes as his “get-out-of-life free card”. He loves to learn a dish from a chef he works with and then make it his own. “Recently I took a marinated peppers dish on the Mister Percy (Ovolo 1888, Darling Harbour) menu and made a roasted red peppers & miso risotto paired with a Chianti Classico.”
It’s clear that Shun Eto lives and breathes food and wine. “It’s the best feeling when you share your passion and educate others, and then they in turn learn to love the wine that you’ve recommended to them.”
Image by Chris Chen