Tucked into that infamous Merivale/Ivy laneway, the understated Ash St. Cellar takes its name from its location.
Part of the expansive Merivale Group – which includes MsG’s, El Loco and The Fish Shop – there’s still a certain amount of charm to the place, despite its flashy parentage and rock star posse.
Surprisingly, they are open from breakfast (think smoked salmon toast or chorizo and egg roll) through to post-dinner cocktails (could be an Americano or a Bramble), making this an anytime kinda venue, which is unusual for a place with cellar in the name.
We think it works best after dark and with a glass of Elk Cove Pinot Gris in hand. The wine list is hefty and with an international flavour. Touching on Spain, France, the USA and even South Africa, it’s separated into flavour notes, so you can choose from the ‘aromatic, floral and spicy’ to the ‘weird and funky’ depending on your mood. It also means you’re bound to find a drop to go with your charcuterie plate, kingfish ceviche or sweet alfajores with dulce de leche.
There really is something for everyone, even if a Spanish hint often wins out. Chef Alfie Spina actually draws on his Sicilian heritage to re-imagine Italian flavours and dishes into a spuntini menu of little morsels – something akin to tapas – that make great grazing over several dishes. High ceilings, intimate bistro tables or bar seating, not to mention its laneway locale, make it a surprisingly relaxed spot for a sophisticated vino.