Wine on tap, $5 snacks and warm service have made La Pinta, the Spanish-style bar Adam Racina opened in Reservoir two years ago, one of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants and a favourite among chefs.
A Reservoir local, Racina also wanted to create the kind of cosy, laidback neighbourhood space he felt the suburb needed. And now, alongside partner Brooke Mora, the pair have brought a new staple to High Street in the form of Sardinas, an all-day eatery, wine and flower shop just across the road from La Pinta.
It’s a sibling venue, but one that is decidedly more relaxed. “La Pinta is buzzed all the time,” Mora tells Broadsheet, “there’s quite a high-energy vibe in there and we love that.” But the duo noticed sometimes customers wanted a calmer spot where they could drop in for a coffee or a snack without the commitment of a full meal.
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Mora was also looking for a space to promote her online florist Casia Florals, and Racina was looking for somewhere to expand the house-made charcuterie offering he’d been making at La Pinta. Sardinas is “sort of a mishmash of our strengths and what we’re interested in,” Mora says.
It’s also a mishmash of contributions from Mora and Racina’s various artist friends. The hand-moulded porcelain installation hanging in the centre of the venue was created by Jennifer Conroy-Smith, who created a similar piece for Yugen Dining.
And the cast concrete shelving unit was made by architect and furniture designer Harley Hamilton. It’s used to display a retail range of local and international wines. There are also eight Australian wines on tap which can be ordered by the glass, litre or half-litre bottle. And if you bring your bottle back to be refilled, Sardinas offers a $3 discount. “We found this space and realised we had enough room to also store a lot of keg wine,” says Mora.
The food offering is more minimal than La Pinta’s, though the bread, tortilla and burnt Basque cheesecake from across the road are on the menu. There’s also a selection of what Mora calls “stuff on toast”, ranging from Venetian sardines to house-made pickles and preserves to Racina’s charcuterie, which is butchered, cured and sliced on-site.
Given Mora’s background, flowers are a significant part of the offering, with fresh bouquets available to purchase and custom arrangements and event floristry upon request.
“It’s kind of like Sardinas and Casia is within the one business,” says Mora. “We also are in the process of getting our website finished so we will be doing online sales from the shop and online flower sales and delivery.”
688 High Street, Reservoir
Tues to Sun 12pm–10pm