24 Jan Spencer & Co Wine Bar Provedore, Carlton North
Spencer & Co is a new wine bar and provedore in the quaint and leafy surrounds of Rathdowne Village. Owner Carmel Pietromartire is passionate about sharing quality produce, and many of the dishes are inspired by recipes that have been passed down. She wants Spencer & Co to feel like the extension of her home – a comfortable and intimate place where one can enjoy good cheese, good wine and good food.
We start proceedings with a rather good Cabernet Sauvignon by St Hubert, and a rich and almost creamy Tiramisu Martini made from Creme de Cacao, a double shot of espresso, Galliano, Marsala, mascarpone cheese and a lady finger as a garnish.
We enjoy the wine with a build-your-own cheese platter with L’Artisan Extravagant Triple Cream, Pont l’Eveque AOC and Truffle Pecorino. All are impeccable, but the L’Artisan Extravagant Triple Cream takes the cake for its incredibly creamy texture. The menu is full of high quality ingredients, and the bread, including the lavosh, is made in house. Their crusty bread has a dense but soft crumb and is a good partner for many of their dishes.
Sfingi Con Alici are warm Sicilian doughnuts filled with anchovy. They have a crispy exterior and quite a bready inner. The density and volume of the bread balances very well with the saltiness and punch of flavour of the anchovy inside. The Melanzane in Carrozza consists of slices of eggplants sandwiching mozzarella di bufala, which have been crumbed and fried. They’re perfectly crispy, though slightly salty on this occasion.
The Prawn Twisters see school prawns cooked with garlic and wrapped in a long cone of pastry that shatters on biting. The prawns are packed with flavour, and pair well with the smokey chilli lime sauce. Chicken Cotoletta – parmesan and herb crusted chicken schnitzel with potato gratin – should satisfy the meat eaters.
I love baked cheese, so their Baked Brie was a must order for me. Its innards spill out as we cut into it, creating a wonderful harmony with the Grand Tawny Port, sweet fig compote, crunchy almonds and rosemary. It’s delicious, and comes with with even more of that wonderful bread for dipping with too.
There are a few desserts on the menu, and we choose the red wine Poached Pear today. The tender pear has been soaked overnight in a red wine bath, and the honey and Roquefort ice cream is made in house. It’s a very well balanced dessert; the blue cheese in the ice cream is not overpowering in the slightest, and it’s likely that those averse to blue cheese won’t mind it either.
Spencer & Co is a relaxing place to grab a bite, a drink or a nibble. It’s an exciting new addition to Carlton North, and for cheese and/or wine lovers, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Spencer & Co as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Spencer & Co Wine Bar Provedore
639 Rathdowne St
Carlton North, VIC, 3054
(03) 9077 1323