Oh Loretta’s fit-out sticks to classic wine bar territory with stucco walls, claret-coloured banquettes and bentwood chairs. There’s a dog-friendly courtyard out the back, and service is chatty and casual. But it’s a deceptively low-key facade – both the food and booze offerings are ambitious and polished.
The wine list is weighted towards small Victorian growers, but if the daily write-up doesn’t grab you, there’s also a stash of off-list wines and unusual varietals. Cocktails might come spiced up with kombucha fermented in-house, and a textbook Old Fashioned is made using house-made cherry syrup.
But food doesn’t play second string. The menu is omnivorous but plant-forward, with lots of smoking, picking and grilling adding complexity to the veggie offerings. Portions err on the small side, so if you’re here for a full-blown meal, order big.
The menu changes every day, but favourites reappear. If available, the single charred carrot with fermented chilli and chicken skin is an unexpectedly addictive hit. There’s usually burrata in some form, or go for the smoky cauliflower hummus topped with dried feta, currants and pickled carrots.
If you want to get out of the vegetable aisle, try school prawns served with crustacean-oil mayo, roughly cut sheets of house-made pasta with hand-picked crab, or croquettes from a whole pig’s head, roasted for 24-hours.
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