Restaurants that grow and evolve with their diners are the ones that start to stand out and do really well. And that’s what we’ve seen from the team behind Belle’s Diner, which became Belle’s Hot Chicken. The home of fried chicken has been selling natural wines for a while now and the customers were warming to them. So much so, that the team have decided to open Bar Clarine, a natural wine bar next door.
The new space from Morgan McGlone, Miranda Campbell, young sommelier George McCullough (Builders Arms), and chef Adam Shoebridge (ex Husk USA) is a small one with a lot of heart. The space has only 22 seats and, no surprises here, doesn’t take bookings.
The natural wine list, showcasing local producers like Patrick Sullivan, Bill Downie, and Tom Shobbrook, and a range from France, Italy, and Spain will be housed in the nearby cellar in Collingwood. For those playing at home, natural wines are made without a lot of additives, chemicals, or technology, so they’re not always perfect in their appearance. Just like an organic tomato might be small and imperfect, but the proof is in the flavour.
When it comes to the food menu, things will be constantly changing, but you can expect a little more sophistication than damn-tasty fried chicken from next door. Think grilled rice cakes with boiled peanut hummus, sardines on toast with a tomato gravy, oysters, or house made cheeses and terrines. And finish with a dulce de luche rice pudding.
Clarine is the older more sophisticated sister to Belle, and we have to say, we really like these sisters – the good genes clearly run through both.
150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065