You could easily walk right past Don’s. Shielded by wooden venetian blinds with just a tiny lightbox marking the entrance, the wine bar is a hidden gem despite its prominent Prahran location, just across from the market.
The tiny wine bar is the first solo venture from Alex Gavioli – former co-owner of sandwich shop Stan’s. The venue is as cosy and communal as a dinner party – and that’s just how Gavioli intended it. When he first got the keys, he immediately tore down a main dividing wall to make room for a 12-metre-long communal table and kitchen bench. It spans the centre of the room and allows for the sort of shared, intimate dining experiences he’s all about.
The menu is fluid but revolves around small, simple plates like sardine, cucumber and bearnaise on toast, or flatbread slathered with confit garlic. There’s also a regular pasta line-up (think mafalde bolognaise, handmade in the open kitchen). There are a few nods to Stan’s, too, including a secret-recipe fried-chicken sandwich that’s loaded with slaw, house-made buttermilk dressing and spicy jalapeno jam.
The wine list is impressive but accessible. Instead of an intimidating pages-long wine list, Gavioli has a relatively minimal, relatively natural selection: pét-nats from Oz, frizzante from Italy and chilled reds from Austria.
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