Melbourne city’s newest elevated bistro, North & Common, and chic wine bar, Olivine – opening in February 2023.

? Olivine

Heavily influenced by Victorian produce and producers, the city’s newest elevated bistro, North & Common, and chic wine bar, Olivine – opening in February 2023 at the billion-dollar Pentridge lifestyle precinct in Coburg – are world-class venues that would be right at home in nearby Carlton or Fitzroy.

With Melbourne-born Head Chef Thomas Woods, at the helm of North & Common, guests can expect produce-driven seasonal menus that aren’t locked into preconceived ideas of what neighbourhood dining should be.

“What we’re creating with the restaurant is a lively, welcoming space free of pretention that’s inviting for locals and travellers alike,” says Chef Woods, who made his name as a young Sous Chef at the hatted, Jacques Reymond; before opening his own restaurant, the two-hatted and critically acclaimed, Woodland House.

“At North & Common, we’re on a mission to deliver an ever-evolving dining experience with a focus on simple food and great techniques that highlight the natural quality of the produce. This will be accompanied and elevated by a thoughtful wine list.”

A typical meal could start with Rock Oysters served with a classic mignonette; followed by grilled calamari with an egg yolk dressing. What follows is Chef’s grilled rib-eye, smoked bone marrow glaze with horseradish cream; a roasted bass groper with crustacean sauce and fermented tomato; or charred beetroot with sorrel and Stracciatella for mains.

“I am excited to work closely with producers that I’ve built a relationship with over the past 15 years to deliver a menu that pays homage to the first-class produce we have available in Victoria,” he said. “Producers like Ocean Made, who will help source the best seafood in the state; to the family-owned Flinders and Co, who supply some of the best meat in Australia. Cultured butter and dairy from Gippsland Jersey, and Simon Johnson’s amazing cheeses, have also played a part in influencing the menu.”

North & Common is adjacent to Pentridge’s iconic main gate, while nearby wine bar Olivine is located close by in B Division – once home to the likes of Ned Kelly. These two venues join other anchor tenants, including Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne (opening February 2023) and Scottish craft beer icon, BrewDog, as part of the billion-dollar transformation of the historic Pentridge site in Melbourne’s north.

North & Common’s indoor/outdoor elevated bistro-style dining is all about what’s on the plate, whilst in the West Wing, Olivine offers an intimate and exclusive experience curated by one of the country’s most exciting Sommeliers, Liinaa Berry.

In stark contrast to the warm tones of North & Common, Olivine plays off the brick and bluestone, green marble, and plush velvet decor for a more dramatic effect, which echoes the bold and simple ethos of Woods’ menus.

One glance at the world-class beverage list, it becomes apparent that wine is the star. From iconic producers to unsung heroes, Olivine’s extensive walk-in cellar, offers choice across both place and vintage, with guests welcome to explore with the onsite Sommeliers.

“Currently, we have a great vertical line-up from a number of Australian producers,” Liinaa says with pride. “This includes single vineyard Pinots and Chardonnays from 2012 onwards, from Ten Minutes by Tractor in Mornington Peninsula to Jamsheed Wines in Preston.”

“I have some rare back vintages from Savaterre and Castagna from Beechworth – both are world-class white wines grown on granite,” she says. “And we’ve secured one the best producers of Grenache hailing from old vines of Blewitt Springs in McLaren Vale – Vanguardist Wines – who was happy to let me have some of his precious museum wines as they are made in very small quantities.”

Olivine lists iconic Côte-Rôtie producer, Jean Luc Jamet from the Rhône Valley, and Château Maison Blanche from Montagne Saint Emilion in Bordeaux amongst Liinaa’s top international varietals. The producer, François Cotat, and cult wineries like Domaine Belargus provide wines that are hard to fine in France.

A comprehensive selection, from individual Champagne producers, perfectly complements the classic caviar service at Olivine.

“At the end of the day, an impressive wine list might get people through the door but it’s the experience they have with you which keeps them coming back,” Liinaa says.

At Olivine, that experience includes plush and moody booths that have transformed the heritage cells into places you want to linger with friends; a walk-in cellar encased in bluestone; a grazing menu with enough substance to be a main meal – think Classic caviar service; Pork fritters with cider vinegar; Gnocco fritto with cured ham; or Grilled sardines with smoked buttermilk – and elevated, attentive service though out.

Berry believes that Chef Woods’ approach to cooking and hospitality is the perfect complement to the wine bar offering.

“Put simply, Olivine marries food, wine, art, community, whilst the textural bluestone walls give a nod to the history of the space,” she says.

Both venues will officially launch in February 2023. North & Common is open from 5.30pm seven days a week (and lunch from midday on weekends) with dinner reservations from 6pm. Olivine will be open from 4pm daily. Bookings will be required for the booths.

North & Common | Olivine
1 Pentridge Boulevard, Coburg VIC 3058