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Vini Verdi

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Sarah Douglas has a nice pair at Vin+

WINE pairing is a bit fiddly at the best of times but with lunch specials at Rp120,000++ the pluses keep on coming at the wine shop, restaurant, gallery and bar that is Vin+.

A soaring bamboo structure that towers over the little road leading back from La Lucciola, Vin+ is a magnet for wine lovers. Owned by one of the country’s largest wine importers, it is filled with features to lure both food and wine-lovers, including a dishy Sicilian chef.

At this time of year the weather can put a damper on the most enthusiastic foodie but Vin+ has a great solution for that; eat in the wine room. It is cooled to perfection and provides a perfect hideaway among the bottles of fine wine and champagne. Don’t be late though, these tables are in demand.

The courtyard and under-cover tables make for a fine alternative, albeit a little warm, and at night the space comes alive with music, wine tastings and special events that twinkle in the glow of candles and soft lights as music fills the space and everything from wine to sake goes down a treat.

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The menu over lunch or dinner is an easy match for the many wines and travels easily through the Mediterranean, courtesy of the Sicilian chef, while it tips its lid to Asia in dishes like the crispy Asian pork salad, which, for the record, was perfect on a blistering hot day.

There is also an all-day á la carte that features a range of baguettes and salads and a more formal menu for evenings which are designed to find a perfect match among the 300-plus wines, all premium imported varieties and many offered by the glass.

The lunch and dinner menu starts with a series of small bites with appetising selections such as croquettes with salsa verde, prawn rice paper rolls, crumbled mozzarella with pesto and crispy soft shell crab with Asian ‘slaw. Shared boards include a charcuterie plate, a cheese board, and daily dips. The salad selection is both interesting and delicious with selections from rare Thai beef, classic ceasar with rosemary chicken, Asian style crispy pork and a rib eye and rocket salad.

Pastas are a highlight here and include temptations such as Nonna’s Rib Eye Ragu with pan seared gnocchi and traditional risotto Milanese. The menu then meanders through land and sea before ending with some great desserts like a creamy dark chocolate mousse and an incredible pistachio-topped vanilla cheesecake.

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The daily wine pairing specials are easy on the diner, the drinker and the wallet. Each menu item comes matched with a glass of premium wine. The chicken Milanese, served with salad and some of the best looking, home-made chips in recent memory, was matched with a Californian chardonnay while the Asian crispy pork salad came with a biting, Chilean sauvignon blanc.

Each month, Vin+ offers a wine of the month; not surprisingly December’s tipple of choice is champagne. They hold sake nights and sangria sessions and often have visiting winemakers popping in for some very affordable wine dinners and cellar door type tastings. Wednesday nights are reserved for some swinging jazz and acoustic sessions.

Vin+ does a handy business in supplying wine for weddings and events. The in-house sommelier is always on hand for advice, whether it is one bottle or a hundred.

Vin+ occupies a space that Bali needed; a wine store that is also a restaurant, bar and venue, where all the good things in life come together; wine, food, song and conversation. That’s life! Happy holidays.