For those bona fide Melburnians for whom a premium glass of red and/or white is a daily ritual, directions to the Prince Wine Store are imprinted in their muscle memory. To the local oenophile, it is as familiar as the Arts Centre Spire and Flinders Street Station. Arguably Australia’s leading independent wine outlet, the Prince Wine Store offers over 4,000 bottles from around the globe. Nestled next to this celebration of the magic of the grape, set in a classic Victorian terrace building, is the Prince’s sister business – wine bar and restaurant Bellota. Bellota realises a long-fermented desire to provide a venue that showcases and champions some of the great wines of the world in a warm, friendly environment and accompanied by beautifully executed food. At the kitchen helm sits Head Chef Nicky Riemer, former co-owner and head chef of iconic Richmond establishment Union Dining. Riemer’s Euro-centric cuisine offers a sense of provenance and utilises and reintroduces flavours that have been recently overlooked in modern cooking techniques. At its core, Bellota’s honest, straightforward and mouth-watering food perfectly complements the enjoyment of wine, plainly and simply. Fresh, local produce features in Chef Riemer’s creations; as such, the menu may be subject to change in relation to ingredient availability.

You may be wondering what specifically comprises Bellota’s version of a European menu, and that is fair enough. Well, for starters, a sizeable double-doored meat-and-cheese case is a fixture behind the bar. This should be a strong indication that this place means business. Their extensive range of salami and other charcuterie includes green olive mortadella, black-peppered saucisson, medium-spicy Calabrese, spicy Hungarian csabai with paprika, air-dried beef, or bresaola, smoked pork neck, 16-month-old prosciutto Toscano and 18-month-old jamon Serrano. Cheese enthusiasts will be duly impressed. Choose from the soft Burgundian Delice des Cremiers, Charles Arnaud Reserve Compte – an 18-month-old semi-hard cow’s milk cheese – and the Ford Farm ‘Wookey Hole’ cave-aged English goat cheddar, among other selections.

Bellota, South Melbourne


Bellota, South Melbourne


Belotta, South Melbourne


If shellfish get your pulse to racing, there is a raw bar from which natural oysters, shucked to order with mignonette and lemon, are produced. Cured Hiramasa kingfish served with fennel escabeche, goat curd and crisp shallots is another ideal starter to your multi-course adventure. Transition to braised-rabbit risotto with taleggio, radicchio, parmigianno reggiano; confit duck leg, black lentils, mushrooms and Madeira jus; bavette (French for “bib”) steak – also known as flap steak or the “butcher’s cut” – served with pomme purée, witlof and bagna cauda, an Italian dip made from anchovies, olive oil, garlic and butter; or perhaps a lamb rump garnished with fried butter beans, salsa verde and baba ghannouj. You are nearly there. Conclude your meal with a chocolate semifreddo of white chocolate mousse and passion fruit caramel. Then, and only then, may you exhale.

Of course, as mentioned above, Bellota’s food is created to be enjoyed with a glass or two, or three, of wine. As a result, it is imperative that a general overview of the wine list is undertaken. First and foremost, the list changes seasonally. The benefits of this regular modification to one’s expanding wine knowledge are obvious. All wines are available by the taste, glass and carafe, reflecting the owners’ belief that delicious and interesting drops are produced throughout all regions of the world. Fortunately for the genuinely dedicated, Bellota offers a limited selection of iconic wines, poured by either the taste or the glass, utilising the Coravin wine-access system. Any bottle purchased from the Prince Wine Store is welcomed to be consumed in the restaurant. If you are searching for a particular vintage and/or producer or you find yourself in the “overwhelmed” category, a passionate, professional and knowledgeable team is available for direction and recommendations. As well, this team is by no means built by ordinary members. Not only do they bend over backwards to help make your dining experience memorable and exceptional, they also aim to enable you to love the food and wine as much as they, themselves, do. This degree of passion is very special – and very, very rare. Bellota is located at 181 Bank Street in South Melbourne.

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