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10° & RAINY ON SUNDAY 19 AUGUST IN MELBOURNE
By Tagen Davies
January 21, 2016
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Bar Nonno

Good wine and great food make this Italian place an absolute Westgarth gem.
By Tagen Davies
January 21, 2016
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High Street is a busy place. So why traverse the heights of Ruckers Hill when you can stop in the quaint surrounds of Westgarth Village and rest on your laurels at Bar Nonno? On entering the establishment you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s more of a boutique wine store with room to sit rather than somewhere to hole up for hours drinking good wine (and eating even better food), but you'll be happy to know this little hidey-hole is a restaurant as well. 

With head chef David Murphy (previously of French restaurants Bistro Thierry and PM24) behind the pass, it is of no surprise to be presented with a beautifully diverse, yet quintessentially European menu. It's clear that Murphy’s largely French technique has given him a deftness across all European cuisines that manages to be both authentic and surprising at the same time.

Ordering is made easy thanks to an open and helpful front of house staff — a rarity in most restaurants with a wine list bordering on 120 listings. The dining menu is split into spuntini, mains, pizza, contorni, dolci and formaggio, but it's the spuntini that's the clear standout at Bar Nonno. The king prawn served with a yuzu mayonnaise ($6 each) proved to be an interesting, but excellent pairing — being aromatic without overpowering. The octopus, served with jamon crumbs ($9.50) is a bold dish that manages to perfectly balance what is essentially bacon lardons, with the charred, robust octopus.

The pork belly bites ($8 each) with apple, ginger and an amontillado sherry glaze are one of the more palatable pork belly dishes you’ll try; the sherry glaze and the ginger really cut through the fatty pork, and won’t leave you gasping for air trying to digest it. Equally, the charred broccolini with lemon and coriander seeds ($11) was a side that complemented the meal while still holding its own amongst the spread.

If however, you're after something a little simpler, the pizza menu is concise and in favour of showing off one or two key ingredients. The Nonno pizza ($21) with fior di latte and tartufo sopressa goes down a treat with a glass or two of wine. The largely biodynamic wine list is impressive but, what’s more, staff are well versed in pairings and have some impressive knowledge on all the plonk on offer. Sommelier David Carlei has selected wines to suit any palate and the attention to terroir and production methods add a layer of authenticity that is hard to fake.

Whether seated in the wine store looking out onto High Street or nestled in the more relaxed and inviting dining rooms, Bar Nonno can cater to all. From the staff to the setting and, of course, the food and wine, it is hard to fault this little Westgarth gem. Nonno would be so proud.

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