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Lover

  • Bars
  • Windsor
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  2. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  3. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  4. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  5. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  6. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  7. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  8. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  9. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  10. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  11. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  12. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  13. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
  14. Photograph: Graham Denholm
    Photograph: Graham Denholm
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Windsor gets a moody cocktail haunt with a devoted Negroni menu

The latest addition to Windsor’s party district is a gothic-romantic-kitschy bar with all-black tables, floors, walls and ceilings foisted with a hoarder’s collection of vintage bric-a-brac à la wooden tennis racquets, bird cages, ornate frames and dollhouses. Add the Edison globes and chandeliers and we have to assume someone went to a Salvo’s warehouse armed only with a wad of bills and a Post-It reading “whimsy”.

Cocktails are the main event, but for those preferring wine, there’s a tidy list of roughly ten reds, ten whites, and a single rosé that challenge neither palate nor pocket, being mostly easy-drinkers hovering around the $60 mark. A focus on the Antipodes pays off, with selections from all the big-hitting valleys as well as smaller winemaking regions including Geelong, Orange and a fresh and floral Nick O’Leary Riesling from Canberra.

Bar snacks ride the curious retro-Australiana trend that’s gone from 0-to-100 prawn cocktails. Given head chef Paul Turner’s time on the pans at places like Cutler & Co and Donovans, there was always going to be some zhuzhing, though this doesn’t always translate from page to plate - the chorizo oil the prawn toast is fried in is too subtle for us, as is the lemon ash on the hot pork crackers. Save space instead for palm-sized chicken sangas that stuff chewy, bun-shaped pretzels with shreds of juicy dark meat and punchy fermented chilli.

Boracay might still be closed but a trip to the tropics is found in vodka shaken with lychee liqueur and orange blossom spritz, its sweetness defly balanced by calamansi, a tart Filipino citrus. Strong Espresso Martinis – shot through with chocolate bitters and topped with torched coconut marshmallow foam – are both frivolous and straight up delicious. For sophisticates, there’s a Negroni menu, including a remake starring pineapple plantation rum. It’s stiff but smooth, fragrant with fruit but subtle on the palate.

Here’s a bar with its finger firmly on the trend pulse. From the 90s-throwback snacks and dedicated menu of Negronis to its spot on the happening Windsor wedge of Chapel, Lover knows its crowd – young, polished, adventurous but not quite risky – and makes itself in their image. For the cocktails alone they’re worth a second date, and with a little recalibrating on the food front, they could well turn into a full-time fling.

Written by
Juliana Yu

Details

Address:
60 Chapel St
Windsor
Melbourne
3181
Opening hours:
Tue-Thu 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-1am
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