Melbournes sleek, sassy and sexy salumi bar
On the bustling streets of Melbourne Ombra could go unnoticed, but believe me once frequented it will never be forgotten. Hosting one of THE best and intriguing wine lists in the city, complimented with an extensive selection of meats that have been smoked, salted, dried, aged and pickled they describe themselves in a few very short sentences.
"Ombra is based on the ideals of preservation. Inspired by the ‘Salumerie’ of Italy we focus on delivering the highest quality cured meats. This preservation refers to the produce as well as the preservation of lifestyle and culture"
Owned by the formidable Guy Grossi, who not only has five highly acclaimed cookbooks under his belt, Grossi has been opening restaurants and cafes in and around Melbourne for over 20 years now hence why he gets this so right!
This was actually a very impromptu Sunday afternoon visit whilst strolling the CBD streets, plus I had recalled a fantastic write-up on Ombra by those cool cats at Urban List and thought I should pop in and I am so pleased I did. Ombra sits over two lovely levels, with the downstairs showcasing a long narrow space with hightop rustic wooden benches. The lighting is moody, cosy and warmly reflects upon big glass jars of homemade pickled vegetables and numerous bottles of wine.
Staff were exceptionally friendly and knowledgable on both the wine list and food menu and when I ordered a glass of their 2016 Alicante, Cataldo Calabretta, Calabria I was immediately assured it was a fantastic choice for a red. From my own research I was able to find out that the wine is named after the maker Cataldo Calabretta who represents the fourth generation of winemakers that dedicated their lives to the vineyard in Cirò. The amazing thing about Calabria is that it is a real treasure when it comes to indigenous grape varieties. The Gaglioppo grape makes this one of the best red wines I have ever tasted, it was light in colour but rich and intense in flavour. It can certainly be described as fruity but with an undertone of almost toasted nuts like almonds or even chestnuts. It actually reminded me of being a child in London when street vendors would roast chestnuts on an open fire on the top of old oil drums throughout the city during the winter months, the taste was magical.
This could not have been paired more perfectly than with their Duck Parfait served with quince and their fresh light bread that melted in the mouth. The parfait was meaty, and by that I mean it had a lot of texture, flavour and personality, it was also delicately salted and drizzled in stunning Italian olive oil which was such a nice touch. The quince was sweet yet sharp and washed down with that wine it was a match made in heaven.
I know what you're thinking, how can I write a review based on one dish and one glass of wine?
Well sometimes it really is about the simplest things executed exceptionally well that get you going. I have absolute confidence that if any other dishes had hit the table they would have had the same simplicity and great flavour as the parfait and I am sure the staff would have recommended a matching wine with ease.
What makes a good venue and experience?
A warm first welcome to set the tone, staff who know what the brand stands for and can educate you on the menu, attentive but not forced service and then dishes and wine that deliver what they promise.
Ombra you tick all the boxes, thank you!
76 Bourke Street, Melbourne
03 9639 1927 firstname.lastname@example.org
Open 7 Days, 11.30am - Late
Photos by Ombra