Scorcher reviews: Bar Tini
3–5 Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Open 7 days
5pm til late
Click PLAY below to hear Scorcher’s view on 3AW Breakfast
To get there, you’ll have to wade through a sea of selfie-snapping tourists and graffiti-gawking locals on Hosier Lane – Melbourne’s most photographed thoroughfare – but once inside this Spanish-style bodega you’ll discover a place that will rioja your socks off.
I’ve waded ashore at Bar Tini, a hungry traveller in search of some top-notch tapas and Spanish snacks.
If he were here with me, John Burns may very well describe Bar Tini as Disneyland for adults.
Although unlike Splash Mountain you won’t have to queue, but the culinary ride you’ll go on is just as thrilling.
This is the kind of place you take people to show off Melbourne.
It’s got all the essential elements of the city: tucked down a laneway, a little bit trendy, relaxed and friendly, with delicious, accessible, honest food.
The only thing about Bar Tini that deducts points from its Melbourne licence is the dirty great big sign hanging above the door. We don’t do conspicuous signs in this city.
Bar Tini is Movida chef Frank Camorra’s latest dining tag on Hosier, who is slowly – tapas by tapas – taking over the whole laneway.
The jail-like bars on the windows belie the welcoming and approachable vibe you’ll encounter as you enter. Sidle up to the long, bullfighter-rogue bar, grab a glass of something red and Spanish – or some vermouth on tap, or a sherry perhaps – and strap yourself in.
The menu is divided into various areas of interest – tapas, montaditos (small open sandwiches), shared plates and tinned seafood. Yes, tinned.
But this isn’t your supermarket, bung-on-some-white-bread variety fish. This is fine imported Spanish seafood – baby mackerel, mussels, sardines, razor clams and anchovies – served as a bar snack.
We worked our way through a sizeable chunk of the offerings here, causing the barkeep to remark: “Boy oh boy you guys must be hungry.” Too right! And that’s half the fun.
Kicking back here with a cold beer or a cocktail while picking and sharing through a succession of beautiful bites is my idea of a good time.
Dishes we enjoyed included the mojama ($5), air-dried tuna on a thick rectangle of watermelon with two almonds perched on top like goalposts.
Chef Ewen Crawford has kicked a super goal with this dish. A must have.
The slow-cooked pork and brisket croquette was gooey and glorious; the mollete – an Andalucian toasted sanga – of ham, kimchi, anchovy and mozzarella was a bite-size explosion in a salt factory, perfectly neutralised by a crisp beer.
The montaditos are petit and cheap enough ($6-$9) that you can order one of each of the four on the menu if you’re game. We were.
Our favs were the smoked salmon, goat’s curd and salmon roe, punchy and precariously balanced on top of the buttery crisp bread; and the prawn and Avruga caviar with red pepper – a fancy-pants little snack – was devilishly delicious.
I realise this is inching into “big call” territory but I’m declaring Bar Tini to be one of my ultimate places to eat in Melbourne at the moment.
It’s not overly flashy or fancy, but that is part of its appeal.
It’s just a relaxed place to loll about with some mates – or even on your own – supping and snacking the night away, far removed from the camera flashes and hum of the crowds outside.