29 Jul Heartattack and Vine, Carlton
Co-owners Emily Bitto and Nathen Doyle, also responsible for Wide Open Road and A Minor Place, opened up Heartattack and Vine earlier this year. It’s a cosy space that suits couples, groups and solo diners, with 40 seats indoors, and 30 outdoors. Heartattack and Vine serves breakfast and pastries, then a variety of rolls for lunch, but come evening it transforms into a cinchetti bar.
For dinner they offer meatballs, a salad and desserts, but the biggest item of interest to me was the selection of cinchetti – small bites that have been described as Venetian tapas. Ordering the cincchetti was an exciting adventure. There’s no set menu for them; they’re on rotation and are replenished as necessary, so there could be something a bit different each time you visit. Available for $3.50 a dish or 3 for $10, there could be spiced nuts, breaded and stuffed olives, pickled items or arancini. It’s become a (possibly bad) habit for me to study menus intently before I visit a place, so it was a both thrilling and a little liberating to have a verbal menu here.
W had a salad and the pork and beef meatballs, which were rather moist and tasty.
No complimentary bread here; instead it’s crisps, keeping with the bar theme. I tried out four different cincchetti today. I forget the exact details of all the dishes, especially since the available selection was verbally described, but they included jalapenos filled with baccala salt cod puree and topped with some sort of chip, crispy rectangles of polenta with radicchio and cured meat, and one of my favourites, cured duck breast with poached pears, which was beautifully delicate and sweet. There was also a large pork terrine croquette. I was actually surprised by the decent amount of meat inside, and also by the nasal sting of what may have been wasabi. That little hit, together with the pickled vegetables interpersed within the sauce, balanced out the meatiness of the croquette’s contents.
Heartattack and Vine left a very positive impression on both of us. It’s convenient, fast, exciting, and suits all manner of budgets and appetites. It had a great vibe with good food to match, and given its proximity to uni, I’m sure we’ll be coming again soon.
Heartattack and Vine
329 Lygon Street
Carlton, VIC, 3052
(03) 9005 8624