Bellota was opened in April 2013 by the three partners (Philip Rich, Michael McNamara and Alex Wilcox) behind South Melbourne’s iconic Prince Wine Store. The bar brings to fruition a long-held desire to provide a venue that showcases the great wines of the world in a disarming environment alongside beautifully executed and sympathetic food. Borrowing aspects from the European bar culture the space includes a sweeping bespoke bar, a large salumi/cheese cabinet and a traditional leather banquette. At the same time Bellota splices more typically Melbourne influences into the look including a huge street art “Loren-esque” mural watching on from the courtyard through into the bar.
When it comes to the wine, not surprisingly Bellota is a wine lover’s dream come true. An ever-changing selection of wines by the glass, taste and half carafe, are supplemented by a seasonal wine selection made by Philip, Michael and Alex – each of the partners are responsible for the wine list on a rotating basis. Alternatively, guests can slip through an archway into the wine store next door and choose from over 4,000 bottles. Those priced at $80 and over are charged at the retail shelf price, those less than $80 incur $15 corkage. An extensive selection of spirits, fortified wine, cider, ale and larger is also available.
On the food front, Bellota’s pedigree is also rock solid. Stephanie Briton (ex-Gertrude Street Enoteca) is heading up Bellota’s kitchen long term where the overriding philosophy is to source the highest quality produce and treat them simply. In addition a large marble crustacean bar filled with a fresh daily oysters selection and a beautiful charcuterie and cheese selection is complemented by a simple all-day menu.