Upstairs at the Rose is now a sleek and engaging neighbourhood wine bar worth getting (very) excited about
Despite sharing ownership and the same building, Harry & Frankie Fitzroy (the original bar is in Port Melbourne) is very different from the pub downstairs. It has its own entrance, its own kitchen and a very different set of principles. White walls are covered in silhouette grape vines, interspersed with wine glasses and somewhat creepy smiling faces. Big arched windows, a marble fireplace, dark, wide floorboards and ceiling roses lend a Victorian slant to the otherwise clean (rather than cold) furnishings. Music is better than downstairs too, with soul, blues and Motown instead of elevator pop.
The wine list is frequently rotated and interesting without being outlandish, including approachable and recognisable drops at the lower end and more challenging stuff for those willing to spend a couple of extra bucks. The staff know what they're doing, making comfortable conversation while describing wines succinctly and accurately. A Canberra Districts Rhone blend white by Ravensworth is textural and slightly oxidative with a lively Alsatian nose but a savoury palate that gives it great balance. Even the house red on tap from Yarra Valley for $8 a glass is delicious, with enough light fruit to work as a quaffer but plenty of tannin to go with food.
On the menu, you’ll find good wine-drinking snacks like terrines, charcuterie and tartare. The real standout is the crisp buttermilk-battered Kentucky Fried Quail, the whole quartered bird sprinkled with mountain pepper, one of the many examples of native ingredients on the menu.
There’s been a profusion of great wine bars in Fitzroy lately and Harry & Frankie is no exception, offering an experience a touch more casual than Marion and less challenging than Liberty. It’s a welcome addition.
|Venue name:||Harry & Frankie Fitzroy|
406 Napier St
|Opening hours:||Wed-Sat 4pm-late; Sun 1-9pm|