Gosh I love Melbourne! It’s such a fun city, not to mention it has numerous wine regions on its doorstep like the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and the stunning Bellarine. Melbourne and Victoria as a whole is an awesome destination for wine-lovers. If you’re just passing through and don’t have a time for a day trip to one of the above wine regions then I would highly suggest stopping by Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen in South Yarra for a wee tipple and bite to eat.
As you guys know, I love to blog – that’s pretty obvious when I keep up with my day job and still publish 2 new posts nearly every week on the blog! However, you might be surprised to know, I don’t blog about every wine, winery, wine bar or venue I go to. The ones I do blog about have that extra special little element that motivates me to sit down from anywhere between 2-6 hours to craft a post around.
The reason I wanted to put up a post about Shadowboxer Bar is that for me, they ticked all my boxes. From a fabulous wine menu to delectable bites to eat, to a groovy atmosphere and that little thing that gave them that extra special little edge was the service. Customer service is very high on my list and can easily dictate my overall impression of a place. The sad thing is, a lot of bars, restaurants and cellar doors tend to forget this very easy element. Quite simply put, when a venue goes over and above to make their customer service shine, then I love to spread the word about them.
As some of you may have seen, Mr. Spittoon and I recently spent a long weekend in Melbourne. We did a lot of day trips, however on the Saturday night we thought it would be great to see what Melbourne City has to offer. We didn’t quite make it as far as the CBD as we were told about so many awesome places in and around Chapel Street, so that’s as close to the city as we got.
The lovely Louise from Aphelion Wines actually gave me a heads up on a number of venues stocking their wine (which I had been hanging out to try for some time now), so after scoping them all out on the map, we thought Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen (just off Chapel Street on Toorak Road) on her list sounded great for a light dinner and wine.
The Wine Menu
Okay so we went to Shadowboxer for the Aphelion Grenache (yumo by the way, see my tasting note below) but that didn’t stop me having a good look at the drool-worthy wine menu. And I of course had to have a sneaky glass of prosecco to go with my oysters to start with!
It was great to see the by the glass wine menu strongly promoting local wines (as did the ‘by the bottle’ menu) from Victoria as well as having a few from sistering states NSW and SA + a lovely little WA offering of the 2012 Margaret River Watershed Blanc de Blanc. The 2015 Box Grove Prosecco from Nagambie Lakes went down a treat for $9 a glass.
Prices were pretty steep per bottle, but that’s inner-city restaurant prices for you – so it’s to be expected. Plus you can tell the Shadowboxer wine list is focused on small vineyards so a lot of wines on the menu are probably hard to come by. I wish we had the time and money to work our way through the lot!
I was so excited to have the opportunity to try an @aphelionwine on our Melbourne long weekend! This wine brand hails from McLaren Vale in South Australia and I came across it when following @winefoodworld who started up Aphelion with her winemaker hubby in 2015. In fact Rob Mack was recently named in the Top 12 Finalists for the Young Guns of Wine! I had the heads up from Louise that I could find their wine at a few Melbourne wine bars and lucky for us @shadowboxer.bar was close to where we were staying! The wine, food, atmosphere and service were top notch – I’d definitely recommend visiting! I will blog more on Shadowboxer however for the meantime this is what I thought of the Aphelion Grenache ‘Bunch’ 2016. There were only 300 bottles of this tipple produced. It’s unfiltered and unfined with the grapes coming from the Blewitt Springs district which is known for its old vine Grenache – the grapes used for the ‘Bunch’ come from 80 year old bush vines. We loved it! Both #mrspittoon and I enjoyed every sip of the bottle (it was a bit pricey at $70 per bottle on the restaurant wine list, seeing as it’s normally $30 retail, but it was worth it to try it). On the eye it was a pretty red-lilac colour with a juicy red fruit (especially cranberries) bouquet with hints of white pepper, lime and bark. In the mouth it is gloriously juicy with spices coming through and a nice long blackberry infused finish. It has a sort of creamy soufflé texture which meant the bottle was gone before we new it. Not bad with those tasty duck ribs on the Shadowboxer menu ? All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy! #tcweekdaywine #tctastingnotes
I literally wanted to try everything on the menu however we’d been snacking all day so both Mr. Spittoon and I were only really after a couple of light snacks to go with our wine.
As mentioned to start I had a glass of prosecco with some oysters. These oysters were amazing and had a little wine-y twist of their own! The oysters were topped with rosé granita, mint and lemon for $4 a pop. DIVINE!
Plus who can ever go past a bowl of rosemary salt chips with thyme aioli ($8.50)? Not me!
After this we decided to give the 250grams of duck ribs with house-made BBQ sauce and jalapeno aioli a whirl for $13.50 – my oh my, these were soooo good! My only fault was that I wanted more meat on those bones! Cooked to perfection and that BBQ sauce and jalapeno aioli were to die for. A great accompaniment to our Grenache! It was hard not to order another round of these!
We were super lucky to have rolled in on a Saturday night at 8pm without a booking. Our first plan for the evening was to head to Borsch, Vodka & Tears which unfortunately was booked up, however we did make it for lunch the next day. So it all worked out perfectly.
The staff at Shadowboxer were super lovely from the moment we stepped in the door. As I already mentioned above, the service was fantastic; very attentive and everyone had a wonderfully friendly and chatty manner.
I really liked the decor, especially the Dom Perignon picture to our right as we entered the bar (top pic of post). All up it was a wonderful setting and I would definitely recommend this Melbourne drinking and dining spot.
If you get the chance, check these guys out – for more details take a look at their website for the latest wine and food menus (they do change frequently).