Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Banter, blather and butterscotch {Banter Wine Bar Review}

Long overdue catch-ups call for a delightful lingering place so when I had to make the tough choice of where to go, I was glad that Banter popped into my mind.
banter wine bar glass red wine

From the outside it is a rather unassuming little place on Queensberry Street in North Melbourne, tucked away from the dining mecca of Errol Street.
banter wine bar from queens berry st north melbourne

Inside it is the most elegant little wine bar lit by candles and smiles.

banter wine bar window view

The menu is Italian-inspired with good thin-crust pizzas, a couple of mains and bar snacks like pork and fennel meatballs and parmesan baked zucchini (eaten on a previous visit and fantastic).
banter wine bar food menu pizza

But Banter calls itself a wine bar and steps up to the title with a fantastic wine list including a big range of wines by the glass and a comprehensive list by the bottle. There are many good examples of the usual suspects and an exciting range of alternative varietals.
banter wine bar drinks menu image red wine

My Pinot-loving friend was prepared to be brave, so after a false-start when the the La Crima (a gorgeous floral, strawberry scented wine from Italy) wasn't available, the waiter recommended the 2011 Pittnauer 'Heideboden' Zweigelt. This was my first experience of Zweigelt, an Austrian variety, with lovely floral aromatics, cherry and spice on the palate and soft tannins. A beautiful wine for lingering.
banter wine bar pittnauer heideboden zweigelt review

With beautiful company.

(A little peek of my gorgeous Pretty Parcel dress- available here)

We were fairly committed to dessert so in order to save some room (more the case for my lovely companion than for myself, regular readers know how much I can eat!) we ordered one pizza to share.

Prawn with slow roasted tomatoes, lemon, chilli, fior di latte and basil
banter wine bar prawn pizza chilli
The base had a crispy crust whilst being nicely chewy and the toppings were super fresh and not overdone, with a nice chilli hit.

A little more wine and we decided we had room for some cheese. We chose this slightly sweet, nutty, soft cheese that I think was a 'douce' or something similar (blogger fail!). Anyway it was delicious, especially served with tart slices of green apple and warmed chewy house-made flat bread

banter wine bar cheese plate

And yes, we still had room for dessert. Banter have a changing list but this always seems to be on it, for good reason:

Butterscotch ice cream with spun toffee and salted crumble.
banter wine bar butterscotch ice cream spun toffee salted caramel

The service is fairly casual but very friendly, our cheese took a while to come out and we had to ask for cutlery but I think it was an unexpectedly busy Wednesday and the staff were so lovely and passionate about their food and wine that we didn't care.

It was one of those nights that when we finally looked at our watches (after realising we were the only ones remaining) we had been leisurely sipping and nibbling for three and a half wonderful hours.

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Banter Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. I love restaurants that let you sit in there for as long as you like without making you feel as though you are using up one of their tables, there is nothing better than a long dinner with good wine and company – it is the Italian way right?
    I love that Pretty Parcel dress – after I liked their page on FB after your post a lot of my friends have started lusting after their dresses.

  2. Banter really do have it worked out. Never had a bad experience there.
    I'm so glad Pretty Parcel has some new fans. The workmanship on that dress is beautiful too. Will last a lifetime I think, as long as I don't eat too much ice cream :)


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