October 29, 2020
Shop Stories: Explore Umbrella Lounge Bar in Elsternwick Village
Known for its sumptuous Georgian cuisine and buzzing atmosphere, the Umbrella Lounge Bar is a home away from home in Elsternwick Village.
Owner Temo Zorella opened the venue on Glen Huntly Rd in 2014, setting out to create a warm and charming space where people felt more like family than customers.
The Umbrella Lounge Bar is often home to live performances, where people can dine and watch colourful entertainers sing and play a variety of tunes.
Mr Zorella said his ambition was to combine quality dishes with live music and a relaxing atmosphere to create lasting memories for the community.
“It’s what I love to do,” he said.
“Importantly, it’s about creating something for the community and that is what I’ve done for the past six and a half years. It’s a community establishment. People feel at home here.”
A Georgian feast
The Umbrella Lounge Bar offers a wide range of dishes, serving late breakfast through to dinner.
“Georgian food is a combination of the east and the west,” Mr Zorella said.
“It’s full of flavour, it’s exotic and it’s colourful. We also offer very generous serves and there is always one complaint that we get from every customer, and that is that it’s too much food.”
The menu includes Georgian favourites like warm, homemade Xachapuri, which is a cheese-filled bread, and a mildly spiced beef dish called Ostri.
The restaurant also serves traditional Georgian dumplings called Xinkali or Khinkali, as well as Badrijnis Ruleti, which is marinated eggplant rolled with walnut paste.
Mr Zorella said the recipes were heavily influenced by his late mother, reflecting a homely style of cooking that made the Umbrella Lounge Bar so charming and comfortable.
A live music hotspot
The Umbrella Lounge Bar prides itself on its regular live entertainment, spanning various music genres to cater to different tastes.
“The original idea for Umbrella Lounge Bar was to just have jazz, but gradually I realised people also wanted other types of music like love songs and classics,” Mr Zorella said.
“Most of the performances are jazz, but there’s also classics and love songs now.”
The venue often hosts talented jazz bands and pianists, who play a wide selection of songs and engage with audiences.
Mr Zorella sees this an important part of the Umbrella Lounge Bar experience, bringing exotic flavours together with superb entertainment.
A home away from home
For Mr Zorella, community lies at the heart of the Umbrella Lounge Bar.
He said the venue was very community focused, looking to create a second home for his new and regular customers.
Some of his regular customers have become so comfortable that they sometimes help themselves during busier times.
“Don’t be surprised if you see one of my regular customers go behind the bar and take a beer or see someone go behind the counter to grab a coffee,” he said.
Mr Zorella said this was fine because he knew these customers through and through – because these customers were part of his family.
Visit the venue
338-340 Glen Huntly Rd, Elsternwick
Phone: (03) 9532 9392