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 warm and friendly 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 incorporates 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.
Danielle Rensonnet has recently taken over the reins of the Bellota kitchen, bringing with her an extensive background of cooking, leading legendary kitchens such as 312, and St Judes, and 5 years working abroad, predominantly in Spain. Bellota features a large marble crustacean bar, filled with fresh oysters flown in from Batemans Bay – NSW twice a week, a selection of artisan salumi and cheese, house made charcuterie and a simple all-day bistro menu.