After five years in Collingwood, the former Bar Rosella, now known as Rosella Dining Room & Bar, has found a home on Gertrude Street. Taking over the site of wine bar Enoteca, which operated for 17 years before closing in 2020, Rosella hopes to continue the tradition of bringing relaxed vibes and vibrant hospitality to the neighbourhood.
For veteran restauranteur and sommelier Rocco Esposito, the building on Gertrude Street was like a spiritual home for Rosella. “This site couldn’t be more fitting for the vision I have always had for Bar Rosella – which is for the kind of relaxed, welcoming neighbourhood bar that you find all over Italy,” he said. “You don’t have to think about it too much, you just pop in when the feeling takes you.”
Rosella is now open, and ready to take you on a flavourful journey.
Rosella Dining Room & Bar
Step into the refurbished building, and discover two levels and a courtyard. The ground floor is intimate and relaxed, perfect for a laidback drink, while the top floor is best for long shared meals. Meanwhile, the Italian farmhouse-inspired courtyard features a wood-fired grill and pergola, with room for 20 people.
Throughout the menu, you’ll feel transported to Puglia in Italy’s south. One of the most popular items at Rosella’s is the spaghetti all-assassina, a regional classic from Esposito’s native Bari. In this warm and homely dish, garlic, tomato and chilli is cooked in a cast iron pan, before adding sauce and raw spaghetti. From there, the spaghetti is cooked almost like a risotto, leading to an amazing consistency, with some delicious and simple flavours.
Meat also shines on the menu. Indulge in slow-cooked lamb, which falls delicately off the bone, or opt for some delicious cured meats that are sliced to order. There’s plenty of seafood options too, with octopus and salmoriglio, or orecchiette with swordfish carbonara.
Savour a selection of cheeses, then finish up with something sweet like their tiramisu. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian diners will all find something to enjoy.
What about to drink?
Esposito has had a long career, overseeing wine lists for top restaurants like Vue de Monde. He’s put that to good use at Rosella’s, with small-batch wines from Victorian and Italian producers. Pop in for a drink after work, or pair your meal with notable Italian wines. Most of these wines are over five years old, and available to purchase and take home with you.
Secret Melbourne was invited to dine as guests of Rosella Dining Room & Bar.