The Carlton Wine Room

172-174 Faraday Street Carlton, VIC 3053

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Opening hours Wed 4-11pm; Thu-Mon noon-11pm
Features Accepts bookings, Bar, Business lunch, Groups, Licensed, Private dining, Wheelchair access
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Chris Haydon
Seats 130
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9347 2626

There's something terribly civilised about a smartly dressed outdoor table, a warm tranche of chicken and pistachio terrine and a glass of chilled chablis on a mild Carlton evening. Inside awaits a tiered space of wine cabinets, mysterious staircases and gleaming white tiles. It's enchanting. So, too, the service. witty, warm and knowledgeable. The menu opens with 'wine food' (booze-friendly bites) before heading into more complex territory. Fried mussels, sweet clams and tender cuttlefish might nestle into a silky ginger custard and spiced carrot broth while a melange of tomatoes might come with olive crumbs and a luscious buffalo mozzarella ice-cream. Cubes of compressed pork shoulder partner with rainbow chard and turnips, and golden, slippery pappardelle complements sweet lamb and vegetable ragout. Frozen quince parfait with coconut meringue and tart mandarin begs for something from the 'stickies' page of the stellar wine list.