The Carlton Wine Room sits on the corner of Drummond and Faraday Streets, near Brunetti and DOC. Co-owner Jay Bessell, who had been coveting the building for four years before snapping up the space, has gone into business with long-time friends and colleagues Michael Tenace and Connie Capello. All three work together at CBD restaurant Il Solito Posto – Bessell as general manager, Tenace the owner and Capello in admin and accounts – and this opportunity seemed to good to pass on.
“I approached Michael and he thought it was a crazy-enough idea to do it,” says Bessell. What’s been created is a very smart room on the ground level and the building is gradually going to open up over the three levels.
The cellar downstairs is a private dining room for up to 12 people, with a handmade Tuscan rosewood dining table as its centrepiece. Street level sees mostly bar-height seating, a chef’s table and a menu that, yes, has share plates of food, but a refreshing approach to it.
“We are doing single serves or serves to share,” says Bessell. “So if you want to try a lot of things you can with single serves. This is the way I love to eat, you don’t need to fill up on it, just try a lot.”
The kitchen is headed by Matthew Silovic (who was most recently sous chef at Verge) and the food is being termed ‘contemporary European’, with a high-technical approach. High-tech often refers to the machinery in the kitchen – a Pacojet, sous vide methods of cookery – which, when used correctly means interesting textures and combinations on the plate. All we know so far is that it’s great to have an interesting bar in Carlton.