Flatiron Side Door
72 Willsmere Road, Kew VIC
0410 341 300
Kew’s newest neighbourhood wine bar, Flatiron Side Door, is what you’d call a family affair. Opened in February by husband and wife duo, Ben and Emma Bangay, this newbie is all about sharing good food, wine and company in a killer space that welcomes everything from knock-off drinks, private events and those big and boisterous family dinners.
Ben’s long family history in horticulture and successful career in production design inspired him to combine the two and take the plunge into hospo. It seemed only fitting that their community-oriented bar is neighbouring Flatiron Store, which is operated by Emma’s sisters. It truly is a family affair.
When you’ve spent your life in television and film production design, it’s safe to say you’ll pick up a thing or two about how to make a space look spectacular. Ben’s expertise in this area has certainly paid off, not to mention a fair bit of manual labour from his hand-carving of the bar, welding of windows, planting the entire garden to constructing the marble tables by hand. It helps that Ben is the younger brother of the celebrated garden designer, Paul Bangay – so you can be sure that the stunning courtyard garden has been crafted with the keenest of eyes. The result is a polished yet relaxed space that feels like you’re strolling on into a mate’s place for a cheeky weeknight night drink or a late Sunday lunch with the kids.
The menu is heavy on share plates with pizzas, breads and cheese boards that are perfect for grazing over a bottle of wine. Start with Tuscan Olives to nibble on, followed by smoked Salumi and cured meats before ordering pizzas like the Prosciutto Rocket, 3 Meats, Margherita or Black and Blue (with black sausage and Shropshire Blue cheese). It’s the kind of easy-going, yet totally moreish food that you’ll want to fight over the last slice for, so order the lot and tuck in. If you like where that came from, (disclaimer: we’re about to fill your Friday night plans) Flatiron’s pizzas are available for takeaway too.
Being a neighbourhood wine bar, there must be mention of what you’ll be drinking of course. Ben made several trips to Victorian wineries over the course of Side Door’s conception to scout the vintages that best suit their laid, back, friendly feel. Each addition to the menu comes bearing a story that he’s more than happy to tell. If you’re more cocktail inclined, you’re sorted with the Pampelle Spritz or Kew Gardens concoction with vodka, cucumber, mint, rosemary and lime. Whatever you choose, pair it with a bite to eat and spill out into the leafy courtyard with a mate – the best part is, it’s all heated (even outdoors), so you can cosy up with that glass of red all year long.
Flatiron Side Door epitomises the classic neighbourhood haunt. From the huge communal tables begging for big groups to occupy, the books and board games taking care of the little ones, great food, even better wine and a chilled-out atmosphere, it’s got all the makings of a lively local.