“Baia di vino” is an Italian term which translates into English as “bay of wine”, or more simply, “wine bay”. For anyone well practised in the pleasure of sensory indulgence, this term should set the curiosity alarm bells ringing. Fortunately, there is a readily available antidote to quiet this cacophony conveniently located at 1 Melrose Street, Sandringham. From the outside, Baia Di Vino is a modest Mediterranean restaurant, bar and wine store. From the inside, however, it is anything but, for its raison d’étre is to share its unique expression of the simple European coastal life. Do not be fooled by this description. The simplicity described here is not the type to be confused with that containing rudimentary or bereft attributes. Rather, it is a simplicity that is guided by richness and cultural tradition and made all that more fulfilling by boasting a panoramic view of Port Phillip Bay.  In its own words, Baia Di Vino “offers the buzz and hospitality of an urban venue with the ease of a beachside location”.

Upon entering the Samantha Eades-designed space – responsible for popular local hot spots such as Hawker Hall, Carlton Wine Bar and Mr Miyagi - it is immediately apparent that you have arrived at a very special place, a place that co-owners Dino Mohsin, Vivian Man, Frank Ciorciari, Gian Chiaravelle and Anthony Silvestre are overwhelmingly proud to call their own. Baia Di Vino offers its customers a light-filled space accentuated by tiled floorings, an Italian marble bar, leather banquettes, rattan Bentwood chairs and vaulted ceilings complete with overhead wooden beams that have been constructed from recycled pieces of a Tasmanian pier. It is quaint and charming, to say the very least. Again, in case you missed it the first time, this beautiful, welcoming and inviting space is set against the backdrop of an awe-inspiring view of the bay. Of course, beauty without substance can be, well…incomplete. Rest assured that Baia Di Vino is not merely another pretty face. It possesses all of the makings of a fine-dining establishment, yet provides a considerably more casual and relaxed environment. Let us now explore the food and wine provisions.

Baia Di Vino

Baia Di Vino

Baia Di Vino

On a fundamental level, the food and wine menus are inspired by co-owner Frank Ciorciari’s holidays to the Italian coast and Provence, in the south of France. He describes the menus as being driven by “Mediterranean influence with global accents”. Head Chef Dino Mohsin, of Malvern East’s Riserva and Rockpool Bar and Grill fame, has transformed these fundamentals into a full-blown celebration of modern European dining, incorporating subtle and sublime references to Baia’s bayside views. The brodetto di pesce, an Italian tomato-based fish stew that is traditional to coastal Abruzzo and Marche, is a clear standout. This version contains WA scampi, squid, prawns, scallops, clams, Portarlington mussels and broth. As a side note, dining on seafood while enjoying a sweeping sea view creates a continuity that can only be understood if experienced. For those of you who enjoy an alimentary walk on the “wild” side, the pappardelle with braised rabbit, ragu and porcini mushrooms will leave you satisfied in a way that only game can deliver. Finally, the cacio pepe ravioli accompanied by wagyu bolognese is straightforward and nothing short of amazing. Needless to say, all of Baia Di Vino’s pasta is handmade in house. Add to the mains an impressive selection of antipasto, cold plates (beef tartare!), small plates, sides, cheese and dessert, and your next sensory indulgence will be nearly complete. The word “nearly” is utilised because the excited anticipation of navigating your way through the 200-plus-bottle wine list is very much part of the Baia Di Vino experience, as well. You have Sommelier Vivian Man to thank for this. 15 wines by the glass are available to those who wish to discover and learn, and the beer, cocktail and spirits list will keep you going through the night and very likely returning the following night.      

Lifestyle & Design

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