First look – the La Costa and Cielo crew open Fortitude Valley wine bar La Valle
December 2020’s blockbuster double-header arrival of La Costa Bar and Cielo Rooftop Bar finished a tough year on a resounding high note. A collaborative effort of Eterna and Salt Meats Cheese head honchos Stefano di Blasi and Edoardo Perlo, and Stefano Catino, Vince Lombardo and Andrea Gualdi of lauded Sydney bar Maybe Sammy, the transformation of Foresters Hall was touted from the outset as a multi-stage overhaul. Today, Friday January 15, marks the completion of the group’s next phase. La Valle is La Costa and Cielo’s wine bar and bottle-shop sibling – a corking and colourful homage to Italian apertivo bars boasting an impeccable selection of wines, pre-made cocktails and bar snacks.
Il vino è vivo. Wine is life. Whether you’re an Italian speaker or not, if you consider yourself a wine lover you must agree that the phrase’s sentiment resonates deeply. This mantra sits at the very core of La Valle, the newest wine-centric bar and bottle shop to open in Fortitude Valley. The brainchild of Stefano di Blasi and Edoardo Perlo (from late-night restaurant Eterna and casual Italain concept Salt Meats Cheese) and the team behind Sydney’s Maybe Sammy, La Valle (which, fittingly, translates to The Valley) follows quickly on the heels of the December arrival of La Costa Bar and Cielo Rooftop Bar around the corner on Brunswick Street. Tucked away on Alfred Street, La Valle is a cosy and intimate escape that is making use of the space vacated by The Valley Wine Bar, shedding some of the moody trappings of its predecessor in favour of a playfully colourful interior – an expression of character afforded by a vibrant palette of orange, yellow and green, as well as some cushy new furnishings and a strip of shaded tables on the footpath. Such an aesthetic helps position La Valle as staunchly antithetical to the pretentiousness commonly associated with contemporary oenology. Indeed, with La Valle the group is revelling in the casual simplicity of wine, presenting it in a grounded and approachable setting so as to better facilitate the connection between wine community (both the novices and connoisseurs within) and winemakers.
When it comes to La Valle’s selection of beverages, the idea tethering the group’s curatorial ethos is collaboration. The bar’s 150-strong wine selection encompasses some of Italy’s most abundant and prominent wine regions as well as quirky new-school producers making waves in Australia. Throw in well-regarded drops from Spain, France and Chile and you’ve got some primo plonk to peruse. The fun doesn’t stop at wine, though – those preferring a different sort of sip can slake their thirst on craft beers, spirits and pre-batched cocktails. The entirety of the La Valle’s selection is available to purchase to take home or to drink on site (with a flat-rate corkage applied) and the team has curated a drinks menu showcasing hand-picked selections to help make on-site imbibing easier. Stefano and Edorado’s recent hospitality endeavours have seen the duo explore more specialised aspects of Italy’s culinary topography, from Eterna’s menu of hearty Roman fare to La Costa and Cielo’s adoration for the salt-kissed seafood prevalent along the Amalfi Coast. La Valle, primarily a wine bar and bottle shop, pivots away from the plate to the glass, but still boasts a range of appetising eats more suited to the grazing nature of aperitivo bars. Anchoring the food menu is a selection of handmade focaccia, which has been proved for 48 hours before being stuffed with the likes of sliced mortadella and pecorino, porchetta and smoked-eggplant cream, caprese salad, and prosciutto and rocket. Guests can also curate their own cheese board, selecting from a list that includes English cave-aged cheddar, saltbush chevre, burrata, pecorino in Tuscan wine, gorgonzola dolce and more. Those with carnivorous appetites can opt for charcuterie instead, with boards featuring bresaola, pork-and-pistachio terrine, kangaroo saucisson, Quattro Stelle lonza and prosciutto, among others. Rounding out the snack selection is an array of tinned seafood (think anchovies, baby sardines, mussels in escabeche and scallops in vieira sauce), marinated olives and cheese-stuffed bell peppers.
La Valle is open now! Hit the Stumble Guide for operating hours and contact details, and be sure to stay tuned for info on the group’s next venue – La Costa Restaurant.
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