Pretty Little

Wednesday
3:00pm - 11:00pm
296 Carlisle Street Balaclava 3183

At Pretty Little, diners book one of just 20 seats at a long communal table. At the far end of the table, Spanish-born chef Josep Espuga turns out dishes from the ever-shifting menu from a small island bench.

Using just a few appliances and a little robata grill, Espuga creates a menu with a Modern Australian mantle, flecked with hints of Spain, a little French and a smattering of other flavours and techniques.

No two nights are ever the same. You might start with pork crackling with crème fraiche and a scrap of dill, or Spanish anchovies draped over charred leeks. Then onto mains, maybe merlot beef steak (similar to flank but with a finer texture) with grilled cime di rapa and a ricotta-like milk and olive oil foam.

The wine list features predominantly Australian wines, with a few classic international drops thrown in, such as tempranillo or Beaujolais.

The blue-walled space is minimally styled. There’s a large abstract painting on one wall, which finds an ally in the warmth of the large copper lightshades hanging over the table. The centrepiece of the room, that long 20-seater table, was built in the restaurant and is made from old wooden floorboards.

It’s worth getting to Pretty Little a little before your booking to have a pre-dinner drink by the fire in the little room at the back. There’s even a turntable and some vinyl, if you really want to make yourself at home.

Updated: February 17th, 2020

We do not seek or accept payment from the cafes, restaurants, bars and shops listed in the Directory – inclusion is at our discretion. Venue profiles are written by independent freelancers paid by Broadsheet.