Innocent Bystander, Healesville

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MELBOURNE | Wine doesn’t have to be drunk in a French countryside alongside aged Gouda and a string quartet to be best enjoyed. In fact, it tastes phenomenal, if not even more complex, when drunk from a tap inside of an industrial warehouse in the Yarra Valley. No need to take my word for it — make a trip to Innocent Bystander, the restaurant and cellar door in Healesville.

Originally sharing a space with Giant Steps, the neighboring restaurant and winery, Innocent Bystander moved to their own building in March 2017, and we were invited to check it out. Phil Sexton, the brains behind both brands, wanted to create an environment that countered the rigid, often pretentious tone surrounding wine drinking. All wine is served on tap and the space is reminiscent of the White Rabbit brewery it previously hosted. Think high ceilings, exposed pipes, polished concrete floors and a neutral color scheme. The name “Innocent Bystander” is also an homage to Sexton’s intent. The restaurant represents your friend next door who simply loves a good glass of wine, without the grandiose presentation.

While servers, also referred to as bystanders, take food orders at the table, guests order all drinks at the bar. This encourages conversation with the bartenders, allowing guests to learn about the benefit of serving wine on tap. In short, the wine aerates while in kegs, softening the flavor and releasing aromas. It reaches full complexity by the time it leaves the tap. While the Innocent Bystander label is famous for its Moscato, I opted for a glass of Pinot Noir. As a red wine devotee, I could immediately taste the “tap” difference.

The menu at Innocent Bystander is built around its artisan, wood-fired pizzas. Options vary from the classic Margherita to a heartier Spicy Pork with scamorza (an Italian cow’s milk cheese), red peppers and green chili oil or the creamy Bianca with ricotta, parmesan, gorgonzola, caramelized leek and cauliflower. If pizza isn’t the craving, a selection of paellas and share boards are also available. All food is cooked with local, seasonal ingredients and gluten free options are available where requested.

To end the meal, don’t miss a pairing of the infamous Moscato with one of the desserts. I recommend their brioche and butterscotch pudding with vanilla gelato. If sugar reincarnated as French toast, this would be it.

Innocent Bystander

334 Maroondah Highway
Healesville
Victoria 3777
Australia

Telephone: (03) 5999 9222
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Mon – Sun: 10:00am to 10:00pm

 
Innocent Bystander Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sarah
Sarah
Originally a native of Denver, Colorado, Sarah decided to pack up her backpack after university graduation and see how long she could live off of peanut butter sandwiches and cheap hostels. After exploring the streets of New Zealand and Iceland, she’s settled down in Melbourne in the hope of establishing a more sophisticated life. One way of getting there is pursuing her love of writing along with delving into the best of Melbourne’s food, bar, and music scene. When she’s not writing, chances are you’ll find her wandering the streets in her Birkenstocks, hunting for the ideal book-reading-cafe or live music venue. A vegetarian herself, she is particularly fond of all foods covered in nut butter, towering plates of vegetables, and [large] glasses of Pinot Noir.

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