Sophisticated Melbourne Nightspots
(Home page image courtesy of Oli Sansom)
Here are 3 of our favourite Melbourne nightspots -
Black Pearl - Brunswick Street Fitzroy
The Black Pearl (one of Melbourne's best bars) was my chic Friday night affair on Brunswick Street. My work colleague and I were collected by two Italian models and taken to the Black Pearl on Brunswick Street on the back of red vespas for a cocktail masterclass to promote Campari and aperitivo hour. The tradition of aperitivo hour (5-7pm) is huge in Europe and is about people coming together in community for low alcohol drinks and snacks to prepare for dinner. Campari are setting out to revive this tradition in Australia...
On arrival at The Black Pearl we were greeted and hosted by one of Campari's international bartender legends for the cocktail masterclass. The Black Pearl is one of the best bars in Melbourne, but also the world (on world ratings lists). The fit out is uber cool with classic couches and great bar music - but the difference is in the number of highly trained sophisticated bar staff here. If they don't know about it, it's not worth knowing...
I loved this cocktail "The Aperol Spritz" with Aperol, the Italian sensation Prosecco and soda... This cocktail featured Aperol, Italy's favourite light aperitivo... Refreshing, orange hit, simple, fun, summer...
Our Campari bartender host was skillful on the garnish prep... He leaned towards not using the white of the lemon in the cocktail. Depends on your appetite for bitterness...
Here I am the consumate cocktail bon vivant enjoying my "The Aperol Spritz."
Campari featured in the cocktail "The Campari Highball" with Campari, freshly squeezed orange juice, soda and ice. The bartender proferred a tip to use more, not less ice. After all, ice keeps ice cool. Therefore you don't get dilution of the cocktail if you have decent amount of ice. People that make cocktails with one cube of ice are fairly shooting themselves in the foot with dilution problems...
Here is "The Campari Highball" - again it was refreshing and I love that bitter Campari taste, balanced by the sweet orange citrus rush and hit of lemon... Garnishing the rim of cocktails with the fruit is also a winner.
Our masterclass included some antipasta which complemented the cocktails...
The Black Pearl in the summer twilight ready for a big night... Chic and sophisticated with its lounges and funky lighting - but even greater sophistication in its bar action. An opinion - Melbourne is becoming grungier in its dining habits but drinking habits are returning to a greater sophistication... Agree?
The final cocktail was "The Classic Cin Cin" with Cinzano Bianco and dry ginger ale with a cucumber slice and fresh lemon. Adult taste. Featuring Cinzano, the authentic and informal Italian Aperitivo since 1757.
The final cocktail...
My impression is that Melbourne is ready to embrace aperitivo hour in its tradition. In fact I'm a believer in simple cocktails that are expertly made (as we enjoyed here with the Campari bartender) rather than a myriad of ingredients... The Black Pearl was the perfect setting for aperitivo hour with Campari.
My work colleague and I enjoyed a cleansing ale before departure. Black Pearl has a plethora of boutique offerings, whether cocktails, beer or wine. I plan to return for this well crafted drinks list and the legendary sausage roll bar snack. And I may venure upstairs to The Attic. Cin cin...
Bar Lourinha - Little Collins CBD
Bar Lourinha is one of the most iconic meeting spots in Melbourne. It carries an air of sophistication along with casualness and the ability to sit back in one of its lounges for a tasty meal or cocktail. This place is as popular as it gets and could be defined as being “very Melbourne”.
This is more a bar than a spacious restaurant, with limited space for dining, although that adds to the ambience! Typically you’ll see three or four people crowded around a small space enjoying a shared meal. Love the communal table! Love the lounges! Love the stools along the bar!
The conversation and conviviality generally ramps up as the evening progresses. This place is loud – and why not! Love the features on the walls! Lots of antlers, and plates and prints and geese formations and all sorts of quirk… Who thinks of this stuff?
The barman shakes up the cocktails with passion as the music gets more funky and festive and the conversation gets louder and louder… Some of the music is European and I can’t understand it – but it’s feel good!
Food here is imaginative and first class! Many dishes have Spanish influences and menu includes fresh oysters, chorizo croquetas, grilled lambs tongue, slow cooked beef cheek, kingfish pancetta and crystal bay prawns. As well as amazing desserts such as sovrano and shiraz jelly, spiced chocolate and hazelnut mousse and churros and dulce de leche.
Bar Lourinha is known for its amazing wine list… It features some great European and Australian wines. For example a Terlano schiava from Northern Italy – known as an “Alpine wine”. Also a great fortified selection.
The service is great here with attentive and chic staff who know their food and wines and the little things that make your patronage memorable. One of Melbourne’s best!
Vue De Monde - Level 55 Rialto Towers CBD
Vue De Monde is a stellar restaurant that stands out from the fine dining pack with its class, cuisine and complete experience. While the food is amazing it's about the whole experience at Vue De Monde. Shannon Bennett is a man of the masterstroke and an ability to provide diners with something unique and special. Up to the 55th floor of Rialto Towers, into the private elevator then through the glass doors into a world of finery.
I was invited to the Glenmorangie Secret Society dinner for whisky lovers. This was to be a classy event and an impressive showcasing of some of the world's finest whisky. Intitially in the bar, the lounges and spaces are impressive and even the decoration above the bar looks like foam.
With a trend to more casual, even grungy, dining in Melbourne Vue De Monde is true to fine dining pleasure. It keeps that sense of occasion and the "wow" factor in everything it does. And attention to detail is a strength.
Then to attend an evening with world class Whisky specialist Glenmorangie, this was the perfect match. Glenmorangie whisky is silky smooth and classical. It is always complex and well balanced. An evening named "Secret Society" was always going to be interesting.
As well as being captivated by the restaurant and the evening at hand, the spectacular views add so much to the ambience. These are views of iconic Melbourne from far above. Strolling out onto the Terrace is a great experience (especially with cigars later on). The best views of any restaurant I've been to in Melbourne.
We enjoyed an amazing cocktail of Glemorangie Original with Leatherwood Honey. I could drink this all night. Super smooth. The leatherwood sweetness went brilliantly with the whisky.
The Spanner Crab, avocado, beach herbs went superbly with the Glenmorangie Original. The Glenmorangie Original is a 10 year single malt with complex floral notes and a creamy vanilla note from the casks imported from the Ozark mountains in the USA. This is accessible easy drinking.
Glenmorangie only uses its casks once or twice ever - despite the industry average being 3 or 4 times. It is also able to extract citrus orange notes from its slender tall stills.
The Duck Gascony was superb being matched with Glenmorangie Lasanta. These single malts are perfect with the duck. We were able to pick up nutty notes, even hazelnut from the whisky.
We were treated to several excellent Glenmorangie whiskys.
The Blackmore Wagyu, beetroot and apple was amazing with the Glenmorangie 18 year old whisky. Vue De Monde excelled in the wagyu and portions of rump, with a delectable smoked bone marrow sauce.
The Lemon meringue ice cream, white chocolate, lemon curd, parsley dessert was a perfect match for the Glenmorangie Nector d'Or.
Vue De Monde served A selection of coffees, teas, infusions and petit fours matched with Glenmorangie Signet. Here is a great note of chocolate malt.
David Blackmore the Global Brand Ambassador from Glenmorangie was so passionate about whisky that he had us capitvated with his stories about the process to get the complex notes of a Glenmorangie Whisky.
You can't make great whisky overnight. It can take 18 years to prove a point.
Glenmorangie is not an automated distillery but the process is intimate and handcrafted.
What an incredible night. Wow factor.