43 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne Vic 3001
Like a punch in the face, Punch Lane definitely leaves its mark on you, but this is one you’ll be happy to relive time and time again. Located in the theater district of Little Bourke Street, this highly regarded wine bar and restaurant is easily one of my top ten Melbourne dining experiences (it’s probably more like top five, but you get the gist). The dark and moody space oozes class and style, without any of the associated arrogance you often find in similar caliber establishments.
Unfortunately our visit got off to a rocky start, we got stuck behind an accident, then drove around for what felt like an eternity to find a car spot and before we knew it we were 20 minutes late for our booking. Thinking we were going to lose our table, I called ahead, praying we’d still be able to visit. The lovely maitre d was friendly, accommodating and even told us where we could find a car spot. 10 minutes later, we were walking in the front doors and having a laugh with the staff – said no one ever! Usually you arrive late and are met by daggers, definitely not the case here.
This warmth and friendliness from the staff wasn’t an isolated event, every interaction with them was light hearted and relaxed, but still incredibly professional. The service was second to none. Incredibly helpful and attentive, each member of staff had a really detailed knowledge of all aspects of the menu. When quizzed on a few of the wines, our lovely waiter gave us a detailed description of each one helping us to pick the perfect match for our selected meal.
Their food offering is all quality. Sure the menu is on the small side, but every dish looks amazing. Game is all the rage here. Rabbit or venison tickle your fancy? Yes please! Or maybe you’re more of a cheese person. Soft, hard, goat, cow, sheep or buffalo cheese they’ve got it all and it’s guaranteed to be some of the best quality fromage you’ve ever consumed.
We opted for something a little bit different in the venison tartare. The ball of tender venison strips were served with cauliflower cream, anchovy, smoked almonds and chocolate crumb, it was like nothing we’ve ever tasted but oh so delicious. But the piece de resistance was still to come. Enter the Whipped Brie d’Affinoise. No, this wasn’t your standard wheel of spongy powder white cheese. Instead it was smooth, light and creamy, every mouthful of cheese was pure bliss. Pair it up with a bit of parsley crisp, confit garlic puree and its hard to imagine ever eating anything else.
Punch Lane definitely provided the setting for one of our most memorable date nights. We may just have to make this a regular thing.