I increasingly feel overwhelmed by too much choice so what a relief to eat at Marion where the food menu is limited to a dozen dishes marked up on the white washed wall. Marion is first and foremost a wine bar so the wine list is much more extensive but it is also Andrew McConnell’s newest opening so although the food menu is short it is certainly sweet.
Next door to Cutler & Co on Gertrude street, Marion is unmarked from the front but peek down the side laneway and you’ll see large stencilled lettering and a cut out long window letting diners and passers by interact.
Marion is split into two rooms with pared back white washed walls. The first has a wall lined with wine and an awkwardly shaped bar towards the back while the second is dominated by the open kitchen. Limited bookings are available but we managed to score a table for four just turning up on a Saturday night and being prepared to stand at the bar for 45 minutes having a drink beforehand. No hard task when there is so much wine to choose from including a Crawford River Cabernet Merlot from the Cutler and Co list.
At the bar we started with my favourite Russian Roulette dish – grilled padron peppers (will they be hot or not?) and thin slithers of jamon ($14). It paired beautifully with a glass of crisp Arfion rosé from the Yarra Valley ($13 a glass). Also on the bar snacks menu were rounds of rye bread topped with a mound of delicate crab meat ($8 a piece).
The simplicity of the menu at Marion is perhaps best illustrated by the pasta casarecce ($23). Al dente tubes of pasta with butter, cheese and thinly sliced zucchini. That’s all but it packed a total flavour punch. We ate it with the porterhouse steak ($34) cooked with a thick charcoal tinged crust and perfectly medium rare meat and a serve of the wild weeds ($10) just touched by the pan so they were still vibrant and green.
Marion Wine Bar is exactly the way I like to eat and drink. It’s oh so Melbourne but also oh so good.
Details: Marion Wine Bar, 53 Gertrude street, Fitzroy (Ph 03 9419 6262)