“Oh they are finally open!” exclaimed my plus one with a genuine look of excitement in his eyes. I had just let him know that we were about to check out Chapel Street’s newest dining destination, Stella. Later that night over a glass of wine he went on to say that he would walk past the venue daily for the last six months, peering inside, hoping that they were almost ready to open their doors. It had even become a hot topic between locals for when they could expect to finally get a cocktail on the rooftop. Well that day has come!
Stella is a stylish and elegant four-storey venue on the South Yarra end of Chapel Street. Serving delicious Italian-inspired classics you would expect, and some dishes that will surprise and delight, the venue has a little something for everyone. The night my plus one and I arrived the venue was heaving and yet everything was running like clockwork – a great sign of an experienced team, especially when it has only just opened up.
Owner Ali Mousavi named the venue after his young daughter and comes from a history of hospitality as his father owned Italian restaurants for more than 40 years. Teaming up with Venue Manager Paul Mitchell (Grossi Florentino, Wills Domain Winery Margaret River, 400 Gradi) and Sommelier Myron Kloppers (Omnia, Ike Jime), the experience of dining here is seamless.
Stella is spread across four elegantly designed levels. Starting with an intimate private dining room in the basement, an open ground-level area with views of their impressive Mariana Forni pizza oven, a dimly lit cocktail lounge on level one (perfect for a date) and the sun soaked rooftop where we suggest spending hot summer days drinking Aperol Spritz, and warm nights throwing back oysters with Prosecco.
While the venue has seen a lot of love and attention, the Italian food is well worth a night out and sits nicely alongside a 200-strong, Italian-leaning wine list. We were impressed with the range of Mediterranean-inspired cocktails.
Stella is a destination for casual catch-ups, business lunches, after work drinks, or romantic evenings. We personally can’t wait to enjoy another Negroni with some oysters on the rooftop on a hot summer night soon.
– The Plus Ones