It takes a special kind of venue to slot in beside two of Dunsborough’s more celebrated establishments and immediately establish itself as an essential destination, but Lady Lola, opened in early January, has done just that.
Wedged between Yarri and Blue Manna – venues that tend to lure locals and tourists alike from afternoons among rolling vines or steel brewery tanks – Lady Lola has given a brand-new look to a former patisserie, adding layers of street cred and effortless cool with a framed portrait of Stevie Nicks complementing marble benchtops and a view over bushland from the outdoor tables.
Drinks might start with a gin and tonic made with pale pink raspberry Cuprum Distillery gin from Bunbury that’s garnished with a rose petal, or one of several Negronis, including an all-white version and another based on reposado tequila.
A joint venture from Michelle Forbes and partner Marinela Antonic, the pair draw on experiences at Rockpool, The Trustee, Subiaco Hotel and Cullen in presenting a go-for-a-drink, stay-for-a-bite sort of place. And what drinks. They might start with a gin and tonic made with pale pink raspberry Cuprum Distillery gin from Bunbury that’s garnished with a rose petal, or one of several Negronis, including an all-white version and another based on reposado tequila. The wine list, meanwhile, veers away from the usual down-south suspects, bringing in some Europeans to support a strong Australian showing and including a section dedicated solely to chilled reds and skin contact.
Well-handled oysters are a briny launchpad into a menu including stracciatella topped with organic tomatoes and sweet candied olives, nicely sharp and salty vitello tonnato with grissini, and warm, garlicky focaccia, made in house, for dipping and swiping. But things change often.
The Lola in the name stands for A Love of Life’s Adventures, and while the adjoining carpark mightn’t promise much, turn your back and this is one place that just might take you on a wild ride.