Melbourne restaurateur, Matteo Bruno has brought an old-world European wine bar to Windsor’s Chapel Street and boy is it a stunner. Named and inspired by Bruno’s 93-year-old grandmother Ines who lives in the quaint town of Asti, Northern Italy, Ines Wine Bar boasts a commendable wine list alongside a succinct menu of small plates.
Sommelier Raffaele Mastrovincenzo (Ides, Kappo) is responsible for the 80 strong wine list, which focuses mainly on Italian, Australian and French varieties, with a premium selection available via a Coravin system.
Cocktail maestro Stefano Cinelli of Lazio, Italy, mans the bar and serves classics like Sazerac-Rye whiskey, peychaud's bitter and absinth, or Old Fashioned - Kentucky bourbon, sugar and angostura bitter served over ice with cherries and orange. Those looking to purchase a bottle of their favourite tipple from the bar can do so, and be rest-assured that it will be in the cabinet for guests next return.
The design aesthetic, originally created by Techne Architects, relies on solid walnut, aged brass and Italian marble, accompanied by low level lounge seating and warm-hued rugs to transport guests into a cosy and laid-back setting. Music plays a prominent part too, with classics expected from Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles.
On the food front, the menu is versatile enough to take you from a light snack to accompany your tipple to a memorable Italian dinner over a beautiful bottle of red wine. A daily crostini selection features fresh ingredients atop of grilled bread with the Croque Signore already a crowd favourite, with aged prosciutto and a trio of cheeses oozing out of butter-grilled bread. We recommend starting with the pistachio crumbed oven baked Goats Cheese, the cheese is served drizzled with honey and red wine persimmon relish and homemade flatbread. It’s simple, but simply beautiful. The veal and porcini polpette is similarly delicious and served with luxurious polenta and roasted mushrooms.
For the main affair, the Prawn Pasta is a must. Think heavenly ribbons of al dente pasta, folded through the most stunning prawn bisque and plump grilled prawns.
For meat lovers the Bistecca grilled eye fillet is one dish you don’t want to miss. Displaying a mastery of the grill, the tender steak was cooked perfectly from end to end. Beautifully caramelised and served with tarragon butter and duck fat potatoes, this was sheer indulgence.
Our visit concluded on a sweet note with Matteo’s take on the classic tiramisu. Again, delicious (particularly so when enjoyed with the mandarin infused limoncello)
Drawing from Matteo’s experiences in Europe and growing up in a big Italian family, Ines Wine Bar is a modern interpretation of a European rustic wine bar and hits all the right notes. An establishment that will appeal to the discerning palate and is perfect for after work drinks, intimate dinners or group gatherings with friends and family.
Location: 150 Chapel Street, Windsor
Phone: 03 9521 4465