Mathew Guthrie is the restaurateur behind Mornington Peninsula’s Bistro Elba and Donna Maria, alongside partners James Langley and Clinton Trevisi. Now, he’s put down roots in Melbourne’s CBD with Patsy’s – his first vegetarian venture, with a European-focused wine list.
“I’ve been vegan for 25 years, so I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” says Guthrie.
The two-storey, art deco building is just opposite the Queen Victoria Market, and it still retains its 1920s charm through glimpses of its original architecture.
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The menu is largely inspired by Mediterranean wine culture, with ingredients sourced from Guthrie’s farm in Daylesford and vendors from the Queen Vic. Dishes are made to complement the wines chosen by wine director Sebastian Zotti (ex-Prince Wine Store), with up to 18 by-the-glass drops to choose from. Plus, the wine selection is predominantly vegan.
“We’re using the wine that we’re pouring as a launching pad for creating the dishes,” Guthrie says. “We find one that we like, then find a dish from the same region or village and make a [vegetarian] interpretation of that dish.”
Expect smaller plates such as the pinzimonio di verdure (fresh vegetables dipped in olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper) served with a hazelnut and olive bagna cauda (traditionally made with anchovies), and pickled veg crudites from the Piedmont region – best enjoyed with a glass of Piedmont gavi di gavi; a “light, aromatic, heritage-style wine,” says Guthrie.
If you’ve got more of an appetite, order the empanada gallega – a fino pastry filled with potato and tomato, served with a classic Mediterranean sofrito sauce and Mezcla Curado cheese. Or, go for the Burgundian-style beetroot sausage, paired with a glass of the region’s signature pinot noir.
You can sit downstairs at one of the terrazzo tables, handmade in Melbourne by Mortadello, or enjoy your vino in a hidden nook in the rear courtyard. There’s also an intimate upstairs dining area opening soon – which will be decorated with modern artworks alongside the original hand-painted walls and period lighting fixtures.
“We’re quite careful about how we open things, so we’ve been trying to do it slowly,” says Guthrie. “We want the team to be properly trained in service so that our customers get the correct experience.”
213 Franklin Street, Melbourne
(03) 9328 7667
Wed to Sun 5pm–late