Plant-forward, pescatarian eats are paired with an unpretentious wine list at Bar Francine’s heritage space. Owners Adrienne Jory and Rick Gibson (also El Planta) are behind the venue, which is set in a 100-year-old building in West End's hospitality and cultural hub.
The bar’s history is highlighted with an arched ceiling – which was restored by the pair – plus ’60s milk bar tiles and framed vintage photographs on the walls. Warm-toned timber furniture anchors the chic, warm setting, where diners can sip natural wines from antique glassware and share plates of seafood and veg-focused dishes.
The menu takes inspiration from European techniques and flavours, with plates that might include crisp onion fritti with crème fraiche and mint jelly on the side; sweet swimmer crab atop creamed corn and chilli butter; and rigatoni in a zesty mint and zucchini sauce.
The dynamic wine list highlights mostly minimal-intervention Australian producers such as Curly Flat, Little Reddie, and Gentle Folk. There’s also a handful of by-the-glass options for those looking to sample a few drops. As well as classic Martinis and spritzes, the cocktail list features nostalgic Australian drinks like the Shandy and Fruit Cup made from Australian spirits (Never Never, Archie Rose, Autonomy Distillers). A fuss-free collection of tinnies also speaks to the style of hospitality – relaxed, comfortable and welcoming.
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