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Ex-Saint Crispin head chef Chris Haydon moves to the Carlton Wine Room

Juliana Yu

Chris Haydon, formerly of two-hatted restaurant Saint Crispin, is the new head chef of the Carlton Wine Room, and he’s bringing his simple-yet-stylish, produce-driven mode of cooking with him. 

Owners Domenic Zanellini and Fiona Sheeran, who acquired the cosy neighbourhood wine bar last year, are giving Haydon carte blanche to revamp the menu, trusting him to replicate the inventiveness and precision of his work at Saint Crispin, where his tenure saw the Smith Street eatery awarded two hats.

The result is a rotating menu, with three dishes that will be changed or added each week, and Haydon says he’ll be personally sourcing all the produce that comes through his kitchen.

Recent menu items such as brown butter crab chawanmushi topped with grilled mushrooms and nettles, or a curl of octopus accompanied by oyster emulsion and sprinkled with dulse flakes hint at a menu that’s refined yet pared back – a clever choice for a neighbourhood wine bar where regulars come to be comforted, not provoked.

Despite being housed in a four-storey, 19th century heritage-listed building, the Carlton Wine Room has always given off a warm, relaxed atmosphere, and the revamped food offering hasn’t changed that.

Diners will still be able to drop in for both a quick, casual bite as well as a sit-down dinner, all while working their way down an extensive wine list that specialises in Italian varietals. 

The Carlton Wine Room opens for lunch Thursday to Saturday and dinner Wednesday to Saturday, 172-174 Faraday St, Carlton.

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