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Kate reviews: Baia di Vino – see the photos

Ross and Russel
Article image for Kate reviews:  Baia di Vino – see the photos

3AW Breakfast food reviews: 8.15am every Friday

Baia di Vino
1 Melrose St, Sandringham

Press PLAY below to hear Kate’s review on 3AW Breakfast.

By Kate Stevenson

I’ll admit it, the southern bayside suburbs have probably been neglected when it comes to featuring in the reviews on this program, but if you’re not from the area, it’s been hard to come by people screaming about great eateries down there.

Well, I’ve got one for you.

Baia di Vino has great pedigree, head chef and co-owner Dino Mohsin has wowed Malvern locals at Riserva, co-owner Frank Ciorciari is also behind perennial Glen Waverley favourite Sette Bello.

It’s a great spot right on Beach Road, perched across from the water in Sandringham. It appears that nothing has been spared in the fitout, a long stunning leather banquette which lines the sea-facing window, there are marble tops, thick exposed beams and a stunning curved timber buffet.

But it’s the food that matters, of course. And it’s good. Lovely, fresh, Mediterranean flavours.

We started with the fried sardines from WA, lightly floured and fried, served with fennel cream and an orange emulsion. It’s a stunning, light dish.

First standout, though, was the fregola-stuffed calamari. The stuffing is a heady combination of onion, garlic, chilli oil, anchovies, basil and lemon zest, and once full, the calamari is cooked in a wood fired oven, so it’s fabulously smoky. Alongside it on the plate, a rich roma tomato salsa. Brilliant winter seafood dish.

Every day there’s a Fish of the Day special, and on this Sunday arvo it was whole Flounder, the wings stuffed with thyme, crushed garlic, lemon peel. It’s simply seared in the pan and cooked in the woodfired oven, then served with a white wine, butter and chive sauce, and some lemon butter roast potatoes on the side for good measure. It’s good eating fish, and probably one of the only ones I’d order whole given it’s so easy to get off the bone. Would easily feed two.

And then I found my new favourite winter dish. This was perfect chilly Sunday fodder. The menu promised “maltagliati” pasta, but I was quite happy with the house-made parpadelle that replaced it. This was served with a glorious, somehow light but rich lamb ragu. Lamb shoulder, star anise, cinnamon, lemon, chicken stock, all cooked together for up to seven hours. Folded in amongst the long, thick, strips of pasta and topped  with parmesan and pangratato. This was nothing short of heavenly.

Couldn’t possibly fit dessert in. So of course, we ordered it anyway. And ate it. All. Seriously though, a perfect rendition of lemon meringue for the end of a pretty large meal. A single, chewy meringue, topped with lemon curd, crumbled sable biscuits and freeze dried raspberries. Worth it just for the picture (it was seriously pretty).

Price-wise you’re looking at $6-$22 for small plates, $30 to $49 for large. Wines by the glass start at $10 to $25 for the special stuff.

It was probably cheeky of me sneaking in just two weeks in to service for this restaurant, but with the pedigree of the owners and chef, I was confident it’d start strong, and let’s face it, I was excited. And it was worth it. Baia di Vino has both style and substance, a gorgeous fitout, an enviable view, but excellent food and a killer wine list. It’s a win for the southern suburbs.

Ross and Russel