Neptune Food and Wine is an oh so slick venue, which as its name suggests has a very clear focus – food AND wine. Floor to ceiling wine racks showing off a solid collection greet patrons along with a commendable by the glass list. The menu is versatile and boasts modern Mediterranean fare to take you from a light bite to dinner if you are so inclined (an option, we highly recommend).
The restaurant’s chique fitout does not come at the expense of warmth, as Neptune exudes a welcoming atmosphere courtesy of the extensive use of rich timbers, exposed brick interiors and the friendly, knowledgeable staff.
The brainchild of Simon Blacher and Nic Coulter (Hannoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina, Saigon Sally), Dave and Michael Parker (San Telmo, Pastuso), it is no wonder this venue runs like a well-oiled machine.
Our evening commenced with a selection of bites and starters. Fluffy potato focaccias whetted our appetites. The dish of creamy stracciatella, sprouting broccoli and honey mustard was stunning, showing elegance and restraint. We loved the combination of flavours. The balsamic glazed pumpkin with radicchio and gorgonzola was similarly delicious, bursting with umami.
Our favourite dish of the evening graced our presence next – charred octopus. The octopus was incredibly tender while retaining a robust structure courtesy of being expertly cooked. The accompanying potato aioli and nduja dressing delivered a luxurious salinity and balanced spiciness which further enhanced the flavours of the octopus. Just yum!
For our pasta course, we opted for the agnolotti and were not disappointed. Beneath the layer of superbly cooked pasta was decadent ricotta. Thick, syrupy, aged balsamic adorned the plate which provided an intense sweetness to complement the savouriness of the agnolotti.
For mains, the Gippsland grass-fed scotch served with kale and balsamic jus would have delighted any meat lover. Displaying a mastery in the manner the steak was cooked, the inch thick cut of steak was cooked perfectly from end to end. A light searing ensured that each steak was lined with a thin crisp layer packed with caramelised beef flavour.
Whatever you do, save room for dessert and indulge in the apple tarte tatin - think sweet fruit over a comforting blanket of gloriously sticky sweet toffee and melt-in-your-mouth pastry finished with mascarpone ice cream. Simply lovely.
Neptune delivers an outstanding experience. Knowledgeable service coupled with well executed offerings and a thoroughly interesting wine selection. A quintessential Melbourne dining experience, well worth a visit.
Location: 212 High St, Windsor
Phone: 03 9533 2827