When I heard Ravesi’s had launched a new wine bar on their premises I was a little surprised. After all, they already have a streetside pub, restaurant, hotel and the Drift cocktail bar to cater for their impossibly good-looking blonde clientele – where on earth could they pack in a wine bar as well?
It turns out they placed it on the second floor between Drift and the restaurant, right where the restaurant’s reception area used to be. It’s a pretty small space but after my initial surprise I soon get used to it – after all, it makes sense considering that area looked a little empty before and it does lend a coziness to the bar area.
In fact, it might be my favourite part of Ravesi’s since it’s much more intimate than the downstairs pub and less brash than Drift. The lighting is dim, the music is quiet (funk is playing while I’m there) and so if you want a nice glass of wine and a decent conversation, this is where you’d go – especially if you can grab a seat on the balcony overlooking Hall Street.
I’m here with two companions who are far more glamourous than myself (as the cat hair stuck on my shirt attests) and we all start off with cocktails. Most of the cocktails here are fruity and our favourite of the night is the raspberry sour, made with Bacardi rum, Cointreau, raspberry puree and lemon and pineapple juice. The lemon balances the raspberry and pineapple making this easy to drink without being too sweet.
If I were to come back, though, I’d stick to wine since I think their wine list is their greatest strength. We order a bottle of the Mr Riggs Tempranillo from South Australia, a nice Spanish style of wine that’s fruity and light, followed by the Matahiwi Pinot Noir from NZ, which I love although one of my drinking companions considers it a little too oaky. Since we wouldn’t want to be excessive in our consumption of red wine, we then follow it up with a few glasses of Mader Reisling, a crisp wine from Alsace, France that’s my favourite of the night (then again, I love Alsace Reislings even though I usually associate them with sauerkraut – but that’s another story).
The wine bar menu offers tapas, pizza and cheese plates. We try the trout and ginger dumplings with tamarind and the duck wontons with mint cucumber and hoi sin sauce. The wontons are good but the trout and ginger dumplings are the standout. We also grab a pizza with smoked ham and … well, at this stage the alcohol has rendered my notes useless. I can, however, say the pizza is good, with a crisp base, great cheese and a nice topping. And now, before I embarrass myself further, I’ll stop writing.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Ravesi’s?