Lord Lygon feels a world away from other Zagame’s venues. The hospitality company is known for hotels and sports bars, and joints with TABs, indoor playgrounds and mass-produced lager. But here you’ll get natural wine, local beer, sliced-to-order charcuterie and a focus on sustainability.
The light and airy wine bar is attached to swish new hotel Zagame’s House on the corner of Lygon and Queensberry streets. You’ll be greeted by staff in pink shirts. Cream-coloured high-backed stools line the long bar, which is made from Rosso Levanto Italian marble; it’s a mixture of deep pinks, reds and maroon that creates an alien landscape under your wine glass. The rest of the fit-out, by interior design firm Lukas Partners (MPD Steak Kitchen), leans local. Dark wooden tables and benches are from Castlemaine woodworker Hugh Makin. Stools are from Grazia and Co, and bespoke plates are by family-owned ceramics company Robert Gordon.
Like the fit-out, the drinks list prioritises Victorian producers with a few international touches. There are more than 280 wines by the bottle (for takeaway too) and a rotating selection by the glass. Glass prices hover around $15, but reach up to $30-plus for some pours, such as a Burn Cottage pinot noir from New Zealand.
“The focus is on family-run vineyards where possible,” says manager and sommelier Marcus Radny (ex-Royal Mail Hotel), adding that sustainable production is always front of mind. “People that farm the land with respect.”
And it’s not just the wine list where sustainability is key. Left over charcuterie is used for the late-night room-service toastie menu, and the kitchen is installing a composting and dehydrating system for food waste. Cleaning is done using water from eWater Systems, a company that electronically charges water to create sanitiser and cleaning solutions.
There are 10 brews offered, including local favourites from Hop Nation and Mornington Peninsula Brewery, and Mick Fanning’s Balter Brewing Co from the Gold Coast. Cocktails are pre-batched and from The Everleigh, and there are canned Espresso Martinis too.
The menu, by executive chef Chris Bonello (Vue De Monde, Bistro Vue) and head chef Michael Tse (Rockpool, Vue Group), is a succinct one-pager of small bites with a couple of larger plates. Choose from Coffin Bay oysters with lime vinaigrette, beef burgundy puff pastries, lamb ribs marinated in bourbon and Coke, and Camembert baked with garlic and thyme.
At the corner of the bar a charcuterie cabinet, trimmed in gold, shows off San Daniele prosciutto and smallgoods from Flinders + Co sliced to order on a red Berkel Flywheel slicer, as well as local and international cheeses. More substantial is the lamb, slow-braised until falling apart, served with spaetzle (a type of German-Swiss-Austrian pasta) and gremolata (a chopped-herb salsa-condiment. And the Wagyu sirloin with a simple accompaniment of mustard and watercress.
“Simple fun food. That’s what I call it. Just respect the ingredient, that’s it,” Bonello says.
66 Lygon Street, Carlton