A smart restaurant, cutting-edge wine bar, creative cocktail lounge, and all in a stunning heritage building with super-chilled service and vibe? Count us in.
The regular’s tip
You can’t not order the curried fries.
The nuts & bolts
Only a few short months since opening in July 2021, Nieuw Ruin has established itself as one of the best places to drink wine in Freemantle – if not the greater Perth region.
Owner Dimitri Rtshiladze, who also owns CBD basement bar Foxtrot Unicorn, says Nieuw Ruin is just a vessel for people having a great time. “It’s about substance over any kind of faux ethos.” No matter what you’re drinking, there are always stools at the bar, a bartender to chat to, and a bowl of curried hot chips to snack on.
The eclectic venue occupies a 150-year-old heritage cottage on Norfolk Street. The property is surrounded by an outside veranda decked out with jarrah high tops, and four-legged friends are more than welcome — they’re encouraged, in fact. Inside, it’s a cavern of wine-lined rooms with marble fireplaces and communal tables. Sit anywhere you like.
There is no printed bottle list, instead the venue’s 300+ bottle options are displayed around the room with hand-written prices on ceiling-high shelving. It’s an incredibly diverse collection. “We haven’t pigeonholed ourselves into one style,” says Nieuw Ruin manager Maria Marter
You’ll find bottles from as close as the Swan Valley – just half an hour away – and as far as Mt Etna in Italy. “Honestly it doesn’t matter where is comes from… if it’s tasty, we’re going to order a case,” Marter says. The glass list is currently all Australian, except for one Italian sparkling. West Australian wines get a good look in, but there are bottles from Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, too.
The food menu is available from open until close, with head chef and resident DJ Blaze Young turning out Euro-style bistro dishes plated with some serious 1970s vibes. Garfish fillets are pickled and rolled onto skewers (strongly recommend next to a gibson martini or a crisp glass of vermentino), and a salted monkfish, egg, carrot and beetroot salad is not only circular, but five tiers high.
“Being able to work with fresh mushrooms that were harvested a few hours before they arrive in your kitchen, or a pristine pink snapper that came off the boat that morning. That’s what gets me excited,” Young says.
Beyond the kitchen, the staff pride themselves on an eclectic and expansive beverage offering, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. “If you want to nerd out with someone, then we’re here to chew your ear off on soil types,” Marter says. “But we also strongly encourage smashing back a pét-nat on the veranda and using terms like ‘juicy banger’.”