25 September 2023

Melbourne establishment emphasises its Victorian-ness

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By John Rozentals.

Zucchini flower, ricotta, lemon and bottarga.

Far from sitting in the shadow of Melbourne’s world-famous food-and-wine scene, Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar at the new Shadow Play by Peppers on Southbank shines the spotlight exclusively on Victorian food and beverages.

The décor is dark and seductive yet the menu and the philosophy hav been described as a breath of fresh air, by Shadow Play’s General Manager Alistair Munro.

“Our Head Chef Ritesh Patil and Sommelier Yu Kurosawa have created an extraordinary dining experience that celebrates the diversity of Victoria and Victorians,” he said.

“Our menu is not just curated from the inspiration of Victoria’s best wine and produce, its philosophy is based on gender equity and fostering a relationship with local producers.”

Free-range eggs, avocado, Yarra Valley chevre, mint and toasted pine nuts.

Resident Sommelier Yu Kurosawa, one of the growing number of female sommeliers in Australia, says that every wine has a story, not just about how it tastes and what food it should be paired with, but how and where the grapes were grown and the individual style of the winemaker.

“Our menu features wine from each of Victoria’s 21 wine regions with an almost equal gender balance between male and female winemakers,” she said.

“We hang our hat on the fact our wine list has been curated to be filled with Victorian wines, including some of Australia’s most well-known and sought-after wine labels, such as Crawford River, Bindi, Yarra Yering and Sorrenberg, just to name a few.

Shadow Play by Peppers’ Head Chef Ritesh Patil.

“In fact, our entire drinks menu is locally sourced, including water and soft drinks from Daylesford, orange juice from Caulfield, and soda and mixers from Kyneton.”

Spirits, including gin, vodka, whisky, rum, vermouth and liqueurs, are also produced in Victoria.

The venue is encouraging guests to discover the stories behind its wine list with its monthly wine program, created by sommelier and wine educator Dan Sims.

Each month will focus on a different Victorian wine region — for example, Macedon in July, Heathcote and Bendigo in August, and the Yarra Valley in September — and the evening event will be presented by the winemakers themselves.

The events are free and there is no need to pre-book.

The wine bar and cellar at Shadow Play by Peppers.

For more information on the wine program, please contact the Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar team.

Head Chef Ritesh Patil says it was not difficult to create a menu that exclusively featured produce from Victoria.

“Not only does Victoria produce the best seafood, meats, cheeses and local produce in Australia but we have some great local producers here who deserve to step out of the shadows of being just a supplier and be seen as co-creators of our menu of excellence,” he said.

The menu highlights its locally cured in Daylesford salumi selection and celebrates cheese supplied by Marie at Emerald Deli at South Melbourne markets.

Celebrating Victorian produce … the dining area at Shadow Play by Peppers.

Chef Patil’s food preparation style is one of simplicity with just four or five ingredients on a plate.

“It is much more powerful to have each ingredient speak for itself,” he said.

“I don’t overcomplicate my dishes because this just drowns each ingredient’s contribution to a dish.”

Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar is located at 308-320 City Road, Southbank and is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Phone 03 7004 0400 or visit www.peppers.com.au/shadow-play/dining.

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