Restaurant Reviews

Clover Vin de Cav: Restaurant review

A new dining trend is taking over Melbourne with this wine bar at the fore.
Dining room at Clover in Melbourne
193 Swan St, Richmond, Vic

With wine bars and freshly renovated pubs proliferating across Melbourne at a fast clip, it’s hard not to surmise that we’re craving something more casual and less structured here in the south. But given that this new wave of more casual venues includes the likes of Richmond’s Clover Vin de Cav, it also appears we’re unwilling to compromise on the quality of booze, food and décor. Casual is all very well but if it doesn’t include a beautifully made grillo-catarratto blend from Sicily and a plate of crunchy pretty house-made pickles served with garlic-flavoured whey then wemight have to rethink our priorities.

Compromise is not an issue at Clover, where Lyndon Kubis, who already has wine bar points on the board with venues like The Moon in Collingwood and The Alps in Prahran has teamed up with former Etta and Embla chef Charley Snadden-Wilson. There’s a confidence to this relatively new business with its vintage tiled and stained-glass frontage and modern interior of whitewashed walls, timber joinery and comfortable banquette seating that immediately puts you at ease. Casual? Sure, but it’s also whip-sharp when it comes to feeding, watering and serving a crowd.

Snadden-Wilson’s single page menu is built around the kitchen’s wood-fired oven.The house-made sourdough bread, a shokupan-esque loaf infused with a little honey and served with a melted butter filled with herb de Provence, originates there and the oven’s smoke is also present with a brisket-like tri-tip sliced and served on bread with Thousand Island dressing and crunchy pickled fennel. There’s also a superb leek dish, the leek steamed en papillote, that makes a perfect accompaniment to the superbly roasted half chook that’s joined by an excellent sauce made from drippings and flavoured with fermented shallots and mustard.

The smoke in the lemon posset dessert might be a bit overwhelming but there’s no such problem with the brown sugar cake that’s topped with oven roasted rhubarb and coconut ice-cream.

Lyndon Kubis’ wine list is a nimble, joyful collection that leans towards well-made, minimal intervention wines from far and wide with lovely German rieslings sharing space with Loire Valley chenin blanc and a superb selection of local chardonnay from the likes of Eastern Peak and Mac Forbes. There are good cocktails too that lean towards the light and refreshing.

With its expertly assembled, short and sharp food and drink menus, a crack service team and clean-lined dining areas (including a cute brick-paved courtyard out the back), Clover is the best evidence yet that the less structured approach to dining in Melbourne is a trend we can all get behind.

Clover Vin De Can

193 Swan St, Richmond, Vic

Chef: Charley Snadden-Wilson

Opening hours: Lunch Thu-Sun; Dinner Tue-Sat

Price guide: $$

Bookings: Recommended.

Verdict: This excellent, beautifully conceived wine bar adds further lustre to Swan Street’s increasingly interesting mix.

Clover Vin de Cav: Restaurant review
193 Swan St, Richmond, Vic
Charley Snadden-Wilson
Price Guide
Opening Hours
Lunch Thu-Sun; Dinner Tue-Sat

Related stories