There’s been a lot of change in Bunbury in recent times, which is not only great for visiting tourists but also for locals in this lovely coastal town, bringing more opportunities for a nice night out. Sala Wine Lounge, from the talented Jason Casella and team, delivers, with an intimate wine bar that is cosy and inviting.
The first thing that catches my eye is the impressive, grand, wooden door and I instantly feel like this place has style and sophistication (I’m a sucker for a grand entry). Taking place in the old Hogs Breath building they have achieved great things with the refit, as from the inside it looks nothing like its former self. Exposed brick, pendant lights, timber flooring and some comfy couch seating. Sala feels upscale and somewhere you’d quite happily sit and indulge in delicious food and wine.
Being a bar and tapas restaurant I think it can be tricky to get the balance right when greeting guests, there’s no bookings so you can sit where you like but I think most people (especially on a first visit) would like a bit of a greeting and some direction. That aside, once we found a nice comfy spot upstairs the service was fantastic and very attentive.
We ordered a nice bottle of red (after a few tastings to help with the decision) and even though there wasn’t a huge amount of knowledge from the staff on the wine, they were very friendly and our waitress went out of her way to help.
Their food menu comprises of small plates designed to share and is really varied. Their mix of dishes includes, Mexican, Asian, seafood, Mediterranean, as well as sliders and chips. This normally rings alarm bells for me but from what I could tell, they do it all well.
First dish we ordered were the marron rolls with paprika, dill, cream cheese and tomato. On first reading this I was imagining bread rolls but soon found out that wasn’t the case. This was such a lovely light dish, they were like long spring rolls with a very thin crisp case and cold, creamy marron filling. Delicious!
Next we had the mushroom croquettas, with a mix of mushrooms and manchego. These came out golden and crunchy with a delightful mushroom filling and oozy cheese. Both of these tapas sized meals were a great way to start and very tasty.
We decided to share just one more larger dish as we weren’t overly hungry and chose the pork belly with green beans, chilli, garlic, ginger, star anise, enoki mushroom and vermicelli. Pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I love pork belly, right?! This was an Asian style dish with a real flavour bomb coming from the garlic, ginger and star anise. The crispy vermicelli gave the dish a fun structural element and the pork belly was tender, sweet and sticky from the sauce.
I really enjoyed hanging out at Sala and am looking forward to another visit soon to try more of the food. Being still quite new I felt maybe they were still getting the hang of it all but I am super pleased to see this type of bar finally arrive in Bunbury and Sala ticks lots of boxes.
Put it on your list for a special night out, with the mood lighting and alluring ambience, this places definitely screams date night!