Some of our friends invited us to Noisy Ritual, the new(ish) Urban Winery that has popped up in the heart of East Brunswick, and of course, how could we resist?!
Now, you might be thinking, bars in East Brunswick, or food and drink venues in general, aren’t a particularly new or unique concept. And indeed you are correct, with Noisy Ritual situated a block or two south of The East Brunswick Hotel and East Elevation, and two blocks up from the heart of the East Brunswick food precinct, with locations like Lady Carolina, Lt. Oscar, and Bar Idda just a stones throw away. However, an Urban Winery (that is, a location that brings in their grapes from more suitable growing locations and presses and barrels their wine on site) is a rare one, with Noisy Ritual being the first permanent Urban Winery in Melbourne, and second only to Urban Winery Sydney.
We arrived early on a Sunday afternoon, with gorgeous Melbourne sunshine streaming through the front windows. We had seen a private wedding being held there the evening before, yet the venue looked pristine (or as pristine as an old warehouse can look), with long tables and benches in the front half, an entire wall of barrels, and various bits and bobs spread around the back. There were plenty of doggos walking the streets, and a long bar inside with two friendly faces behind it.
Noisy Ritual’s atmosphere is sparse but wonderful, matched by what was on offer in terms of both food and drink. The drinks (considering it’s technically a winery) mostly consisted of wines, both in-house and external varieties, coming from the wineries where the grapes are purchased. There were the usual offerings of beers, ciders, and soft drinks, but you can’t go past the $20 tasting flight of their homemade wines, featuring a Chardonnay, two types of Pinot Noir, two Shiraz varieties, and a Cabernet Merlot. They come out in a line of small test tubes, and moving from lightest to darkest, show the skill of the winemaker at Noisy Ritual. I could try to explain the complex flavours and scents that arose from each tube, but it’s something best experienced for oneself. Suffice to say, it was well worth the $20.
The food offering was equally sparse, but with a very agreeable compromise. Food from Noisy Ritual consisted of warm olives (my absolute favourite on any menu), smoked almonds, a couple of toasties (one with salami, and one for veggos), and the tasting board, which featured smoked meats, three types of cheeses, bread, crackers…the works! Like I said, it was sparse. However, tying back into the whole “we’re surrounded by food venues” diatribe from earlier, Noisy Ritual have graciously conjured up an agreement with local Middle Eastern restaurant Mankoushe, allowing patrons to order four different types of pizza and have it delivered to the bar within 20 minutes. We were quite hungry and decided to sample each pizza.
In clockwise order, starting top right, we had their Palestini Curried Mince Lamb, Laktin Pumpkin and Cabbage, Turk Sausage and Babaganouj, and Arnabite Cauliflower and Caramalised Onion pizzas. Between the four of us, one piece of each was satisfying, but just a bit too small, so we ordered the tasting board as well, which was very tasty. The pizzas really were a hit though (especially the Arnabite), and have encouraged us to head back to Mankoushe on a separate occasion and take in their Middle Eastern fare in-house.
All in all, Noisy Ritual is a wonderful venue and one that will continue to grow into its surroundings. I’m sure that it will become a mainstay on Lygon Street and turn into one of the best bars in East Brunswick.