Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Neptune Wine Bar

Date nights.

They’re important for relationships, but Brad and I don’t have them all that often - as these days, especially at the moment, I can be out at events from Monday until Thursday, so by the time Friday night comes around I’m ready to curl up in a foetal position on the couch in my pajamas with a tub of ice-cream. 

That, and although I love eating out, Brad’s a little more conservative when it comes to dining out, so I try not to get too excessive - so we often have quick Indian and Thai dinners (which I can’t complain about either really though).

However, when we do get a night out, I love a bit of make up, a short skirt, heels and a flirty joke or three - and Neptune Wine Bar is the perfect space to encourage that behaviour.

Located in Windsor, but a little away from the main Chapel Street drag, Neptune Wine Bar is dimly lit and beautiful. With exposed brick walls contrasting against structured, crisp and minimalist finishes. There’s a slight European feel to the space, but it’s definitely Melbournian. 

There’s an outdoor/indoor area out front, perfect for when Melbourne decides to let summer come through, followed by a bar, and intimate booths out back. We perch at the bar, where service is warm, with a smile, professional and not intrusive. 

A glass of red felt like the only appropriate thing to drink while it was raining outside, although the cocktail list also looked delightfully delicious - maybe one to tackle with the girls one night!

The food menu isn’t excessive, but very well curated, with options for everyone, and whatever kind of meal you’re in the mood for. Want a big shared affair with lots of food? Just some late night nibbles? Or, like us, something in the middle? 

We could have comfortably gone without it, but I couldn’t resist the smoked eel parfait, that came shaped like little cigars - with such a thin and crisp casing. So smooth, and so tasty. Totally my kind of thing.

And as much as I enjoyed the smoked eel parfait, I couldn’t help but be blown away by the pastas. Maybe it the was the gentle romantic mood of the space, made even more cosy with comfort food, or the fact that it was a bit cold and blustery outside - whatever the reason, with a glass of red in hand, the pasta dishes were perfect.

Brad got the rigatoni amatriciana, which smelt like a dream, and was a surprisingly hefty serving! I think the preconception to nicer places is that they’ll charge you more for quality, but you’ll get a smaller serving - but not when it comes to this rigatoni apparently. Pasta was beautifully al dente, and the flavours were just so wholesome and comforting. Pretty classic in the flavours. 

I went with the pumpkin, gnocchi, fontina and crispy sage, which might be some of the best gnocchi I’ve had in town - and I was so sad when I heard that they’re changing the menu soon - keep it around forever!

The gnocchi was so, so pillowy and light, like a cloud in your mouth, but then grounded by the rich and creamy pumpkin puree. Oh lord, it was so delightfully sweet and smooth. Then add dollops of melted cheese, crisp sage and pepitas for crunch…heaven. I hope they bring it back for Winter next year! 

I was actually quite impressed with the two dishes, that they were vegetarian inclined (I think the rigatoni might have had just a smattering of cured meat) - I always like restaurants/wine bars/drinking holes/places to eat that do simply beautiful things with veggies.

I almost hate to say that you should all visit Neptune, because I really don’t want to have to wait for a table the next time I rock up! I’m just selfish here - the food, booze and hospitality are too good not to share. 

The staff at Neptune Wine Bar are surely going to have some fantastic stories over the coming summer, as there’s no doubt this will be Windsor’s hot spot for first dates, and long time couples attempting at a romantic night out. If you’re a foodie, it’s for sure a great spot to test any upcoming candidates to see if they can keep up pace with your quirky tastes…

212 High Street

Neptune Food & Wine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato