The House Of Wine & Food, Port Melbourne

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MELBOURNE | The House of Wine & Food is a wine bar, bistro and private function space offering a uniquely European experience in the heart of Port Melbourne. Known as the Cricketer’s Arms Hotel since the 1870’s, the complete renovation and rebranding of this historical site is a breath of fresh air to the surrounding industrial area.

From the exterior, the plain black awning and the intricacy of the white-fronted detailing portrays an intriguing Victorian-style venue, which appears quite humble in size. However, walking through the front door reveals a maze-like interior filled with various rooms suited to different dining experiences, all whilst retaining a homely ambience with a slight farmhouse feel.

Let’s start with the Wine Bar. Elegant and classy, the moody brown and black furnishings are kindly interrupted by photographs hanging on the brick wall, showing the beauty of European vineyards throughout the different seasons of the year. An extensive array of Australian, French and Italian wines line the shelves and fridges behind the bar, with beer on tap rounding out the alcoholic offerings.

Across the hall, a library of bookcases filled with European travel books and novels doubles as a private dining room for group functions. The oval-shaped table in the center of the room is ornately decorated with fine china plates and silverware, ideal for a special occasion or private meal with loved ones. Leaving this sanctuary of European literature, continue walking down the corridor towards the indoor bistro, complete with tablecloths and a fireplace.

The final domain of this multifaceted venue is the outdoor courtyard, most of which is undercover and blocked from wind. Compared with the sophisticated bistro dining area inside, this outdoor space feels more casual thanks to the purposefully mismatched furnishings and décor, all in keeping with the European theme (bar the AFL showing on the flat-screen TV by the wall).

Owners Deborah and Alan Giles have done an exceptional job transforming the previously occupied pub into this European food and wine haven. With an extensive background in operating and managing numerous hotels and venues throughout Melbourne, this pair has a combined experience of 100 years in the hospitality industry. Their love for European cuisine stems from their time learning to cook French cuisine at the now-gone Emily McPherson College. Since then, they have also spent some time living in France and Italy, where they operated a wine importation business.

The House of Wine & Food is the culmination of their experiences and passion for European heritage. Realising a gap in the current hospitality scene in Melbourne, The House of Wine & Food aims to introduce classical French, Italian and wider European fare to the community, with a back-to-basics philosophy. Their changing menu can feature dishes such as the traditional French salad, Salad Provencal, or the hearty Coq au Vin; and Italian dishes such as house-made gnocchi and tiramisu.

A major attraction on the weekends is their French Bouillabaisse, which is a classic seafood stew originating from Marseilles in the 1960’s. Alan’s recipe uses fish fillets cooked in an aromatic broth of fennel, saffron and tomato, amongst many other flavours. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to try this signature dish, but we hope to return one day and taste it for ourselves. It is clear that a lot of love and passion is put into the preparation, cooking and final presentation of every single dish leaving the kitchen here, as also demonstrated by the lengthy time required to prepare some of their dishes. (During our visit, Deborah was busy in the kitchen preparing a beef bourgignon to be put on the menu in the two days’ time!)

Tasting the food, we found that some of the main meals required a bit more seasoning to enhance the flavours within the dish. But nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at The House of Wine & Food. The attentive service and European-style hospitality perfectly fits in with the timeless nature of the multipurpose venue. So whether you’re looking for a drink by the fireplace in the Wine Bar, an intimate dining room with a select group of friends, or a casual meal out in the bistro area, this place has it all.

The House Of Wine & Food

69 Cruikshank Street
Port Melbourne
Victoria 3207
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9676 2004
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Wed – Fri: 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Sat: 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm to 11:00pm

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Nicole
Nicole
Starting out her career as a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor, Nicole’s professional expansion into the food publication industry came as no surprise to those who saw her genuine passion for food develop over the years. Her appreciation for food doesn’t just entail tasting different cuisines, but also learning about the inspiration behind a dish, and about the story and people behind a venue. Food writing provides Nicole with a creative outlet to share her insatiable appetite with others, whilst food photography enables her to permanently capture the beauty and creativity that is fleetingly shown on the plate. Helping venues to manage their Social Media is a further example of Nicole’s desire to delve deeper into this ever-growing industry. Her love for eating fuels her passion and motivation for maintaining an active lifestyle, with running, hiking, Pilates and travel just some of the ways she manages to stay fit and healthy!

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