Renton Carlyle-Taylor’s business cards may as well read: wine-bar professor. He’s part-owner of a haul of them, including The Alps, Toorak Cellars, The Hills, Milton Wine Shop in Melbourne, and The Valley in Brisbane.
His newest venue, Eastern Road Larder, is a wine bar, but it’s also a cafe and deli, and it’s his smallest venue yet; it has only 18 seats.
“The Larder”, as Carlyle-Taylor calls it, is located in South Melbourne and is open all day during the week serving coffees and simple breakfasts in the morning; salads and sandwiches at lunch; and wine, cheese and charcuterie later. Carlyle-Taylor and his wife Kathryn live on Queens Road near Albert Park Lake, so they know the area well.
The Larder is “a little bit more European and rustic” than his other venues, he says.
“[It has] herringbone floors … warm blue tiles, a little open front, a retro-fitted deli cabinet – all those sorts of things make you feel like you might be in Europe, wandering around grabbing a cheeky glass of wine on your way home.”
The space is centred around the deli cabinet packed with baguettes, sandwiches on thick-cut bread, cold cuts, and tins of Cuca anchovies. The backbar is stocked with jars of pickles and preserves instead of spirits; there are cartons of orange juice and hanging salumi in the fridge. The coffee machine by the window pulls Allpress espresso.
“Every now and then my mum might turn up with a lasagne or some freshly made sausage rolls,” he says. Savour and Grace supplies meat and cheese to all of Carlyle-Taylor’s wine bars, and will continue to do so here
Carlyle-Taylor and Kathryn manage the bar and have designed the wine list.
“We’ve done a list that’s half Italian, half Victorian,” he says. There are a couple of natural wines on the list, but not in the same amounts as at his other venues.
The Larder also offers takeaway cheese and charcuterie platters, which can be made to order, an idea hatched with residents of the apartment building in which the Larder is located. (This is the third venue Carlyle-Taylor has set up on the ground floor of one of property developer Tim Gurner’s residential blocks.)
“We started with something that was just a wine-bar offering, but people don’t come in the morning,” he says. “So we wanted, particularly under an apartment building, something that could cater to people on their way to work, at lunchtime, those who are in the offices around there,” he says. “We’re sort of like the pantry for all the residents upstairs.”
Unlike his other wine bars, this one won’t be offering bottles to take home. That’s reserved for the 50-seat space next door, which, at the end of May, will open as the Eastern Road Bar with a broader food, wine and spirit offering. “It’s going to be more of a wine bar with gourmet pizza, a bit like The Hills,” he says.
Eastern Road Larder
74 Eastern Road, South Melbourne
(03) 9089 0284
Mon to Wed 7am–4pm
Thu & Fri 7am–9pm