When you think about the prohibition era and strict liquor laws, you think back to the 1920’s right? We do anyway. But in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, it has felt like the 1920s for a lot longer than it should. Up until not that long ago, liquor licenses needed to be voted on by the public, who were fined up to $74 for not voting. In true Aussie fashion though, no café or restaurant was ever denied such rights, but it was still a weird dry area. To end the weirdness and the soberness, the powers that be decided to change the laws. Now, the alcohol is free flowing and the fines are gone.
Prohibition Food and Wine, which has just opened on Toorak Road in Camberwell is appropriately named. While the name speaks to the past, the space looks more to the future. Less of a speakeasy atmosphere, more of an open wine bar and eatery type vibe is found inside.
The white walls crack to expose beautiful exposed brick, the dark wooden furniture is contrasted by the stunning natural light, and the food menu offers something for everyone.
The menu, from chef Matt Barlow (ex Two birds One Stone, Fatto Bar & Cantina, Cecconi’s), starts with small plates and bites of polenta chips with garlic aioli, wagyu beef brioche buns with lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, and aioli, or crispy calamari and soft shell prawns. Mains of ocean trout with spring vegetables, pea puree, broad beans, and lemon oil sit nicely next to a selection of steaks and sides. A chocolate parfait or perhaps a plate of local and imported cheeses round out the evening nicely.
The drinks menu is tight. A handful of cocktails like the Aperol Spritz and the Negroni, a few beers including Mountain Goat on tap, and an Australian heavy wine list.
The eastern suburbs are late to the game, but they’re making up for lost drinking time.
Prohibition Food & Wine
1395 Toorak Road, Camberwell
(03) 9889 2385