A cosy neighbourhood wine bar set a few streets back from Main Street Mornington, Wilsons Wine Cellar offers an extensive menu of local and international drops in a relaxed setting.
The bar spans across two dining rooms, seating 70 comfortably. A moody fit-out features plenty of recycled timber, lush velvet and comfortable armchairs to sink into. Dark walls are graced with vintages lined up for selection. If you're there early, you can grab a spot at the window or sit outside and watch the locals pour in after work.
There are 80+ wines to choose from by the glass and bottle, from classic varietals to organic and minimal-intervention wines. You'll recognise local names, including Kerri Greens, Quealy Wines, and Foxeys Hangout featured throughout.
Though it's a wine bar by name, they also offer an impressive cocktail list. Try the Bush G & T – mixed bush gin, lemon myrtle, oregano and Strangelove tonic – or a Passionfruit and White Choc Martini – as fruity and decadent as it sounds.
Chef Nathan offers a rotating menu of tapas and pintxos inspired by his travels through Northern Spain and an enduring love for San Sebastian. "Food is made to be shared!" he says with a grin.
Staple snacks include Wilson's Fried Chicken with pimento aioli and crispy shallots, or the house-made prawn sausage served on a brioche bun with spanner crab mousse. Nathan claims that the patatas bravas are a non-negotiable and "the best on the Peninsula". Thrice cooked and served with lashing of aioli, Verde, and sofrito; we'd have to agree.
Larger plates include a Peninsula lamb shoulder with 18hr slow-cooked lamb, zucchini, mint yoghurt and tzatziki. It's a nod to Nathan's beginnings, having cut his teeth at Max's Restaurant in Red Hill. For dessert, he keeps things simple with light and fluffy ricotta-soaked doughnuts.
Fresh produce is sourced from the markets and local suppliers. The team will often pick up a loaf of sourdough from Miller's Bread Kitchen in the morning, and the pair will build the daily set menu from there.
Whether you're stopping by for a glass, a bite, or a bottle to takeaway, add Wilsons Wine Cellar to your list of local jaunts worth frequenting.