An astounding vino stockpile, ace northern Italian eats and a focus on service make this Perth’s wine bar to beat
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or in this case: one bar’s broom cupboard is another’s city-beating enoteca. Where one management team saw storage space, another saw the potential to open a warm, personable wine bar where the staff would be as engaging as the vino they were pouring. Mission accomplished, says we.
Save for a rotating duo of beers, this timber-rich, classically styled room stocks nowt but wines – interesting wines, mostly. Cult Australian names like Mount Mary, Yeringberg and Vasse Felix? Tick. Seldom-seen bottles of Burgundy? You got ’em. Shining examples of minimal-intervention winemaking? Naturally, but not in a slavish, dogmatic way. Likeable sommelier Jeremy Prus and his wine-loving crew adopt a broad, never-mind-the-politics outlook on wine buying and it shows on a list that sees Elisabetta Foradori’s silken teroldego from Trentino sharing column centimetres with ten-year-old riesling from WA’s Great Southern (available by the glass, no less).
Keeping in line with the wine list’s Italian leanings, Joel Valvasori-Pereza digs deep into his Friulian roots for food inspiration, surfacing with high-flavour hits like braised bone marrow and meaty lamb arrosticini. It’s traditionally minded yet contemporary cooking perfectly pitched at the bar’s clientele. Then again, springing for the big-value Il Capo tasting menu (six courses for $55? Bargain) is never a bad idea, nor is dropping in at midday for lunch specials like a hefty mortadella and asiago piadina plus a glass of whatever wine Prus is feeling at the time.
Whatever you do, just go, and go quickly. The enoteca has capacity for just 30 and once people get cosy, they don’t give up their seats without a fight. What more can we say? Lalla Rookh Wine Store is the sort of wine bar every city should have, but we’re stoked it belongs to Perth.