MELBOURNE | Juliet Melbourne is a hidden gem wine bar located in the basement of its sibling venue, Punch Lane. Offering a point of difference, Juliet Melbourne champions female wine producers, both local and international, through their impressively extensive wine list. It is unfortunate that, even today, female wine producers are often overlooked in the industry. Juliet Melbourne is aiming to give them the credit that they deserve.
Upon finding the Little Bourke Street entrance, cautiously walk down a steep flight of neon-lit stairs to discover an excitingly intimate venue. Through their intricately designed chandelier and quietly classy décor, the concept of this wine bar remains consistent. Even the walls are lined with bottles and bottles of wine, hinting at the focus of their offering.
Most of the featured wine producers originate from Victoria or within Australia, with only a select few sourced internationally. A couple of male names are found whilst perusing through the list of producers which, as explained to us, is inevitable considering the male-dominant nature of the wine producing industry. Making it easy for both staff and customers, only four bottles of red and four bottles of white are opened each night to be available by the glass, all of which are highlighted in red print on the menu.
More than just a one-trick pony, Juliet Melbourne also lists an array of beers, spirits and cocktails, with the refreshing Elderflower Vespa being a staff’s favourite when recommending cocktails to start the night. Preferring not to steal the focus from the wine, the food menu is expertly curated to compliment the wine, featuring a mixture of sweet and savoury options ideal for sharing.
Dishes that left a positive impression with us include zucchini stuffed with cacciocavalo, soffrito and spiced sugo, the Vitello Tonnato (poached veal with anchovies, fermented black garlic, quail eggs and olives) and Tiramisu Cannoli. A must-order when here, their signature item is the Raclette, which is a whole wheel of Alpine cheese, sourced from Heidi Farm in Tasmania, placed inside a Swiss-imported burner to produce a mouthwatering layer of melting cheese that is personally sliced at your table. You can choose to have the melting raclette cheese served atop a range of charcuterie, bread and pickled vegetables, or scraped into a reuben sandwich. Either way, the scraping of the raclette cheese is a sight not to be missed!
With chef Gabriel Alonso at the helm, it’s no wonder the food tastes as good as it does, and perfectly plays the part of ‘sidekick’ to the all-important wines. Surrounded by an intricately designed, beautifully relaxing ambience, the vibrancy of this social melting pot picks up as the night wears on, with conversation quickly filling the bar and dining area, idyllically facing the open fire.
Basement, 37 Little Bourke Street
Telephone: (03) 9639 4944
E-mail: [email protected]
Thu – Sat: 5:00pm to 12:30am