Dylan and Maddy Breen, the siblings behind Fairfield cafe Mr Wednesday, have taken over the former home of Thai restaurant Paladarr and turned it into Alphington Social, a cosy, farmhouse-inspired bar and restaurant.
The Breens, both from trade backgrounds, have done the design and fitout themselves. As the site originally housed the State Bank of Victoria, they've "tried to restore some of its former glory," says Maddy.
They've kept the original timber floors and open fireplace, adding a taxidermied stag's head, charcoal wainscotting and leather banquettes, and floor-to-ceiling cheese and charcuterie fridges.
There's a courtyard, which Dylan predicts will "go off in summer", and a wood oven churning out pizzas and sides such as wood-roasted carrots and broccolini topped with honeyed yoghurt.
Also on the Italian-leaning menu is a selection of cicchetti, including daily arancini and croquettes, bone marrow topped with bacon marmalade, kingfish crudo, and meatballs with sugo and polenta. There's also a range of pastas, larger mains such as osso bucco and slow-cooked lamb shoulder.
The Breens are sourcing all of their produce as locally as possible, which also comes through on the drinks list. The wines are all Australian, tap beer is by 4 Pines and La Sirene ("they're so close they basically rolled the keg from the brewery to here," says Dylan), and the gins, whiskies and other spirits are mostly local, too.
Open during the day, it's at night that the venue will really come into its own, with old music and old vibes, says Dylan.
Open Wed-Thu 5pm-late; Fri-Sun 11am-late.
7 Rowe Street, Alphington, 03 9499 5671, alphingtonsocial.com.au