Tucked into that infamous Merivale/Ivy laneway, the understated Ash St. Cellar takes its name from its location.

Part of the expansive Merivale Group – which includes MsG’s, El Loco and The Fish Shop – there’s still a certain amount of charm to the place, despite its flashy parentage and rock star posse.

Surprisingly, they are open from breakfast (think smoked salmon terrine with watercress and poached egg or chorizo and egg roll) through to post-dinner cocktails (could be an Americano or a Bramble), making this an anytime kinda venue, which is unusual for a place with cellar in the name.

We think it works best after dark and with a glass of Elk Cove Pinot Gris in hand. The wine list is hefty and with an international flavour. Touching on Spain, France, the USA and even South Africa, it’s separated into flavour notes, so you can choose from the ‘aromatic, floral and spicy’ to the ‘weird and funky’ depending on your mood. It also means you’re bound to find a drop to go with your charcuterie board or orange crème caramel with a salad of date, orange and pistachio.

There really is something for everyone, even if a Mediterranean hint often wins out. Chef Zac Ahrens draws on his own travels around Europe to create signature small bites and sharing plates such as ceviche of kingfish, avocado, jalapenos, cucumber and lime and lamb cutlets tzatziki and black rice tabouleh.

High ceilings, intimate bistro tables or bar seating, not to mention its laneway locale, make it a surprisingly relaxed spot for a sophisticated vino.

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Updated: March 13th, 2018

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