Bellota Wine Bar
Hark back to the golden age of food and drink with South Melbourne's Bellota.
A sister to the Prince Wine Store next door, Bellota Wine Bar brings elegance to the wine game. Hark back to the golden age of food and drink within the refurbished Victorian building and be prepared to temper any stresses of your day as you're welcomed by the warm and intimate space. It's clear that quality is where this wine bars interests lie, with small details littered throughout the space. The deep wood panelling and expansive marble bar highlight and complement the dazzling selection of produce on offer.
With a comprehensive liquor selection on display, it goes without saying a changing selection of wines is available. Best of all, though, is your choice to endeavour by the taster, glass or carafe. This all-encompassing offering is suitably backed up by knowledgeable staff that will guide you through the selection process — or leave you to your own devices if you feel confident to go ahead. But be sure to listen up to what they have to say, because you may find the greatest of daily specials if you do. Also note that corkage is $15 or complimentary if you select a bottle over $80.
The unashamedly European menu is well balanced. Catering wholeheartedly to whatever dining experience you desire, Brigitte Hafner of Gertrude Street Enoteca has injected sensibilities of both class and pleasing flavours. A careful selection of cheeses, charcuterie and salumi form the perfect foundation for a pre-meal aperitivo, while the bar snacks and antipasti selection are a little more substantial, such as the potato and onion tortilla with sliced Culatello di Parma ($10). If you feel like going the whole distance, mains are also suitably priced and distinct in combination, such as the tart with goat's cheese, leek and herbs ($15). For something a little closer to the full experience, the spaghetti with Berkshire pork meatballs cooked in tomato sugo ($18) is a rich and comforting choice.
Sometimes all you want from a dining experience is for the staff on hand to be one step ahead of you at all times, and this is what Bellota Wine Bar achieves. With your needs met and exceeded, your mind is left free to relish la dolce vita — and that's definitely not a bad thing at all.