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To be honest with you, Fitzroy St is a bit of a pain for me. I love quite a few restaurants along there, but I can’t stand trying to find parking and it’s just that touch longer to walk to from home than Acland St. However, I have discovered a reason to make the trek to what I call ‘the other side of St Kilda; OenoViva.

Before you have initial flashes of Spanish tapas or Mexican meals, don’t alarm yourself. OenoViva is not the normal formula! This is a new concept in a fresh new fit out, where the vendors have delivered a venue that really does work. Essentially, the winery has come to the city.

OenoViva, now trading for close to two months, has started to find its rhythm. I shall not bore you with clichéd phrases of sleek interiors and colour schemes or overly descriptive regalement of the dishes. Instead you may have it straight between the eyes:

OenoViva is a very large space. The interior is completely modern but comfortable. One side of the restaurant holds barrels of wine, where you taste the wines first and then choose what you shall drink with your meal. The other side is the restaurant, with split level seating allowing an intimate dinner for a couple, or larger tables to accommodate a party.

The food is fantastic! An excellent range of entrees and mains fill the menu and one might describe the cuisine as modern Mediterranean. In short, this menu will cater for everyone’s tastes. I suggest you try the steak. It was cooked to perfection. The dishes are served artfully. Chef Nick Reade, leaves his own signature on each plate. There was not one dish served that I have seen presented in the same fashion anywhere else.

What I really liked were the extras that (sadly) are becoming deal breakers for me if they are missing; warmth and outdoor areas. Inside, the restaurant has a monstrous fireplace that is roaring on colder evenings, adding intimacy and radiating heat. One can relax and take off jackets very quickly and stay comfortable. And outside; a heated, comfortable outdoor area to accommodate those who require fresh air after a meal, and perhaps a drink outside.

The food is beautiful, the wine list extensive, the concept is different and the venue accommodates well for its patrons. With meals priced ‘mid-range’, OenoViva is the perfect place to start your Saturday night out. Make the trek- you won’t be disappointed.

OneoViva– Open Everyday 79-81 Fitzroy St, St Kilda

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