Stage one of Adrian Richardson's New York-inspired watering hole Bouvier Bar is up and running. It's the second venue for the La Luna Bistro owner-operator, and, at 18 years in the making, it seems good things come to those who wait.
Richardson bought the two-storey site, previously a dressmaking warehouse, earlier this year. He's been working with interior designers Horton & Co since March to turn the space into a downstairs wine bar (open now) and upstairs weddings, parties, anything space for up to 110 revellers that's still a couple of weeks from completion.
It's a classy wine bar with smart black-and-white tiles, plenty of generously-sized stools along a curved wooden bar top, and leather banquette seating for larger groups.
Sommelier Jackson Watson has put together a short, blend-focused list of boutique Australian wine producers with a few token big names.
Dine from a meaty snack menu that's a collab between Richardson and Adam Sanderson, head chef across both venues. A quenelle of beef tartare with a lick of mustard is a good place to start, and don't miss the garlic prawn toastie: whipped garlic butter and a healthy helping of prawns trapped between two slices of delightfully low rent white bread inspired by La Luna's popular garlic prawn dish (apparently one in three tables order it).
When the upstairs dining room and kitchen hit full production, the downstairs menu will grow: expect more fried and grilled options. Richardson is promising to roast "anything with a pulse" for those who want to throw a party in the function space. If you're thinking about your Christmas shindig, bookings are rolling in. Must have something to do with the 3am licence.
Tue-Thu 4pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 4pm-3am; Sun 4pm-11pm.
159 Lygon Street, East Brunswick, 03 9387 8815, bouvierbar.com.au