It’s no secret we love a wine bar outing here at The Hidden Pantry and regularly check out a new venue on a weekend afternoon. The freedom of selecting one off our list or just chancing across a gem is always fun and we love the interaction with passionate food and wine attendants and owner/operators. It’s also a great way to check out a place before taking friends or going for the full lunch or dinner option.
Pulling up a seat at the bar, a cosy table near-by or on a sunny day, taking advantage of an outdoor setting and ordering a couple of glasses of quality vino and some seriously good bar food is the perfect weekend treat, and here in Melbourne we are spoilt for choice.
Here’s our latest favourite;
Cardigan Place Cellars
67 Cardigan Place, Albert Park
Set in a delightful heritage building on a leafy corner in Albert Park village this place is super chilled and relaxing, but serious about the food and wine. We have visited Cardigan Place about four times now and it’s never disappointed.
The venue offers a variety of seating options with a long wooden bar, high bar tables beside large picture windows, a cosy room with table seating for a more intimate experience, and outdoor tables to choose from. We’ve tried them all, and they are all good.
The ambiance is perfect with good tunes and top-quality glassware befitting the classy but not pretentious fit-out. The service befits the vibe and is attentive, well informed and passionate while relaxed and down to earth.
The wine list is not lengthy but it’s balanced, mostly Victorian and interesting, though it doesn’t offer many good “value for money” options, which seems to be a trend around town at the moment. It would be great to see venues sourcing more reasonable but quality wines from the local Victorian vineyards (maybe their clean skin or end of vintage lines) and offering them by the glass or carafe.
The food follows the “classy but un-pretentious” theme with chef Kirra Parsons (Dunkeld’s Royal Mail and Lume) at the helm. As with the wine, it’s a concise but clever curation and it show-cases local and in-season ingredients, which I love.
There is a selection of top-quality cheese and charcuterie which is plated with love and all the house-made accompaniments required to make it shine. A selection of small plates such as Octopus sliders, cured citrus King Fish, croquettes and more are backed by some classic pasta dishes and sides including truffle and parmesan fries (yet to try, but on the list). With a dedicated Vegan menu, they’ve got all the boxes ticked.
We love this place, and will continue to enjoy an afternoon soiree in the “classy but un-pretentious” company of Cardigan Place Cellars, and it also makes the grade for a special dinner date soon.
Steve has taken up an excellent career opportunity in Melbourne commencing in May. For me, it’s the perfect time to gain further inspiration and ideas by doing some exploring and research in such a great food hub. What better place for this than Melbourne?
I will be checking out all the great markets, cafes, bars/wineries and basically every “food hot/not spot” I possibly can! You can stay updated on my experiences & progress via the HP FB page and this blog. All going well, I may launch a new version of The Hidden Pantry once contacts have been made and I decide on the right direction.
I want to say a massive thank you to my loyal and supportive customers, friends and family. Everyone has been so encouraging and positive about this venture of mine and it couldn’t have worked without your constant support. I will be forever grateful, and hope that when we return to Brisbane with renewed vigour and fabulous food ideas we can re-connect with our special customers and friends.