NEAPOLI WINE BAR

30 Russell Place
Melbourne, VIC 3000
http://www.neapoliwinebar.com.au/

I am a big puddle of sad, weepy tears. Chris finally talked me into seeing Inside Out last weekend – I love Pixar but hate going to the movies – and now everything is ruined. I wouldn’t recommend Inside Out to anyone unless they have a fondness for having their hearts ripped out of their chests with a gnarled claw.

It is an outstanding movie though; good job Pixar, you’ve outdone yourselves – again!

(4) Interior

Going back to a happier time, a pre-Inside Out time, I came across Neapoli Wine Bar whilst looking for a restaurant that served both nice food and vermouth. The name rang no bells, but when I turned off Bourke Street, I immediately recognised the stylish wine bar, perched monolithically over the footpath.

(1) Compilation

(3) Interior

Despite its rather urbane exterior, Neapoli was as cosy as my chocolate-orange tea. Whilst the bottom floor was mostly occupied by the bar, a set of stairs led to a warm, dim loft and flickering candlelight. It was love at first sight for both of us, I think.

Cocchi Americano Bianco ($8.5)

Cocchi Americano Bianco ($8.5)

Starting the night was a glass of Cocchi Americano Bianco ($8.5), a sweet, rich Italian vermouth with astringent after-notes of citrus and herbs.

Oyster ($3.5)

Oyster ($3.5)

My freshly shucked Oyster ($3.5), swimming in a shallow pool of brine, slipped plumply and sensuously down the throat.  Though I still find natural oysters a bit overwhelming, this one was creamy, mild, and easy on the palate. I can definitely say that I’m getting the hang of this!

Lamb Cutlet, Cracked Wheat and Tahini ($6.5ea)

Lamb Cutlet, Cracked Wheat and Tahini ($6.5ea)

The Lamb Cutlet, Cracked Wheat and Tahini ($6.5ea) was altogether a much earthier affair. The medallion of grilled lamb with its charred edges was accompanied by a sharp little salad. The lamb was sneaking towards dry, but the fresh greens, dressed with generous amounts of lemon, made up for it.

Tempura Crab and Chipotle Slider ($9ea)

Tempura Crab and Chipotle Slider ($9ea)

The Tempura Crab and Chipotle Slider ($9ea) was serious business. The squishy bun sandwiched an entire soft shell crab, its crisp juiciness complemented with a smear of chipotle mayo. There was also some charred corn salsa which we couldn’t really taste over the crab but frankly, I don’t see that as a problem.

Chicken Liver Pate ($9)

Chicken Liver Pate ($9)

I’m a sucker for Chicken Liver Pate ($9), especially when it’s served with a stack of woodfire-grilled bread. The rosy quenelle of pate was thick and smooth, suffused with the distinctive aroma of liver and brandy.

Chicken Liver Pate ($9)

Chicken Liver Pate ($9)

Spreading easily over the toast, the pate was deliciously rich and pungent. And for those who aren’t as keen on liver, the sticky pickled onions did a great job in drawing out the creamy sweetness in the pate.

Ceviche of Hervey Bay Scallops and Yellowfin Tuna ($15)

Ceviche of Hervey Bay Scallops and Yellowfin Tuna ($15)

As a foil for richness of the pate, we scooped up mouthfuls of Ceviche of Hervey Bay Scallops and Yellowfin Tuna ($15). Ceviche is a bit of a misnomer in this case, as the tuna was cooked, thus making it more of a seafood salad. Splitting hairs aside, it was seasoned liberally with lemon juice, jalapenos, and coriander for a zesty Mexican-influenced bite that made the mouth water.

Fior di Latte Gelato($3)/Saffron and Chocolate Gelato ($3)

Fior di Latte Gelato($3)/Saffron and Chocolate Gelato ($3)

We both had late lunches that day, so we decided to call it quits with a couple of scoops of Gelato ($3/scoop). Churned in-house, the Fior di Latte was silky smooth and extra creamy, whilst the Saffron and Chocolate had tiny chocolate chips and a hint of spicy woodiness. Top notch finale.

Aside from professional and personal accomplishment, I have to say that what I love the most about working full time is the money, because it lets me check out all sorts of new and intriguing places – like this one. Without the worry that the meal I’m dropping $60 on may turn out to be a dud, I’ve become both more adventurous and more relaxed when I choose my places to eat. And thank goodness too, because despite the food being just a teensy weensy bit pedestrian, Neapoli is a gem.

Rating: 14/20 – itty bitty little gem.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.

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Bar  CBD  French  Impress Your Date ($30-$45)  Italian  Spanish  Tapas  Wine Bar 



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