Edging the park and play gym on the south side of the Newmarket dining precinct, Sella Vinoteca feels a bit like a suburban secret, stacked with around 350 bottles of hard-to-find Italian, local, and international wines—and an eclectic, but total standout menu to match.
Behind it all is restauranteur Fabio Dore, who you might know from Balmain’s One Ford Street. And while his focus was pretty set on Southern Italy there, at Sella Vinoteca, Dore is widening his scope a little and embracing a few more flavours (and wines) from the Mediterranean.
Sella Vinoteca, he says, is inspired by the dine-in cellar doors and “old family vineyards” of Europe. “I wanted to re-create that special experience of being invited into a home and experiencing a tasting with the owner,” he says. “You taste and learn so much about the land, the family, and the passion that went into producing that glass of wine."
The cellar does lean into a lot of Italian varietals, but you'll also find Aussie natural and organic wines, and off-the-beaten-path French and Spanish drops. When we visit, Dore steers us towards a Coteaux du Vendômois from the Loire Valley, which is a blend of Pineau d'Aunis, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc.
While shopping or sipping your way through hundreds of lesser-known wines might be a drawcard—you need to stick around and stay a while for chef Marco Masotti’s impressive Mediterranean menu of snacks, share plates, and heartier dishes.
Let the former head chef of A Tavola wow you with smoked beef tartare wrapped in raw tuna with wasabi mayo, or surprise your senses with lime and chili cured trout with a slightly spicy light tomato chili sauce. The absolute must-do on the menu? A dreamy mussel stuffed squid ink ravioli with beurre blanc and bottarga.
The bar and bottleshop have been designed by Tim Leveson Interiors (the same team that created the sleek emerald-hued Employees Only). Interesting details are everywhere—like steely blue tiles that frame the bar and the bold marble terrazzo, which is a mosaic of large marble offcuts, stretching across the floor. Meanwhile, deep blue leather, antique lamps, brass, and pops of glowing mustard in the shop keep the space warm.
Image credit: Jude Cohen