March review Collingwood Review 2022 & More Latest News

90 Smith St

View map

Opening hours Dinner Wed-Sun (opens 2pm on Sun)
Features Bar, Licensed, Accepts bookings
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard

The world’s fanciest eating places are going through a dilemma spurred by a wide range of components, not all of them dangerous. With the center floor – eating places which are neither fine-dining nor fast-casual – bettering a lot previously decade, the case for the highest finish has turn into more durable to make. The shift is cultural, to make certain, and COVID-19 did not assist issues. But for the buyer, there’s little draw back to extra inexpensive eating getting higher. 

Many of our greatest and brightest younger cooks are firmly devoted to the bistro, the trattoria, the wine bar, and people locations the place they’re turning out meals you possibly can eat on a Tuesday in your yoga pants for underneath $50. 

Where does that depart the argument for spending a whole lot of {dollars} on meals that is generally solely barely extra thought of? For many cooks who’ve devoted their lives to the exacting excellence of fantastic eating, the reply has been to diversify. 

Go-to dish: Green-chilli pickled mussels.
Go-to dish: Green-chilli pickled mussels. Photo: Bonnie Savage

In Copenhagen, Rene Redzepi turned Noma right into a burger bar for a time. (He continues to promote these burgers at a stand-alone venue, having re-opened Noma in its seasonal, tasting menu format.)

Ben Shewry made a touch for the nation along with his pop-up, Attica Summer Camp, which was much more informal (and inexpensive) than the unique Attica. Having dined at Attica not too long ago, I can say that traces of Summer Camp have made their manner into the present expertise. 

And Navi, the superb Yarraville fantastic diner, has expanded its choices to incorporate bar snacks, permitting company to expertise Julian Hills’ cooking with out the dedication in money and time – to not point out the issue in securing a reserving – wanted for the degustation.

Pressed potato with garlic.
Pressed potato with garlic. Photo: Bonnie Savage

At March, Peter Gunn has accomplished one thing related, albeit with an entire new venue. It is the sibling to Ides, Gunn’s six-year-old Collingwood restaurant, which sits firmly within the fancy class (the basic degustation prices $210 a head). 

March borrows an enormous quantity of its DNA from the hushed, exacting requirements of Ides, however is way extra accessible. It’s a cocktail and wine bar at its coronary heart, providing snacks and a few dishes that may represent a meal.

March has been within the works since 2020, and opened earlier this 12 months for a number of weeks as a pop-up, albeit sporting an outfit very totally different to the glossy look it has right now. The low, extensive marble bar, slate-grey partitions and muted lighting make the small Smith Street storefront one of many sexiest rooms round, an ideal place to start out your night with a well-made martini ($26).

Sweet-and-sour quail is a classic bar snack made fancy.
Sweet-and-sour quail is a basic bar snack made fancy. Photo: Bonnie Savage

The drinks choice, overseen by sommelier Hayley McCarthy, is each concise and impressive. (This could possibly be stated for nearly every thing about March, in actual fact.) Cocktails are basic, reminding you ways pretty it’s to drink a Manhattan ($26) that is been completely stirred. 

Wines are largely French, Italian and Australian, with a few German whites thrown in, and plenty of bottles are properly underneath $100. There’s additionally a small collection of sherries and sake. It’s an inventory for drinks dorks who need not showcase.

I’ll in all probability be again at March most frequently for a type of cocktails, a glass of one thing white and French, and a bowl of chilli roasted peanuts ($9). 

Miso-roasted eggplant.
Miso-roasted eggplant. Photo: Bonnie Savage

But ought to I be a bit of hungrier, I would not hesitate to re-order the green-chilli pickled mussels ($15), served on the shell with a sliver of crisped garlic. It’s within the pretty plating, the rigorously thought of interaction of vinegar tang and garlic sweetness, that you simply start to understand the ambition and element in Gunn’s cooking.

Vegetable dishes are barely much less profitable. A miso-roasted eggplant ($15), crusted with black and white sesame seeds, wasn’t fairly smooshy sufficient, sporting the dreaded Styrofoam consistency in its centre. Pressed potato with garlic ($15) is sort of a fussy potato salad, and good in the way in which {that a} potato salad typically is. 

I used to be extra enamoured of the sweet-and-sour quail ($28), all lacquered and tangy and maybe a intelligent nod to the ubiquity of hen wings on bar menus; it is a basic made fancy, and winningly so.

Beef fillet tartare.
Beef fillet tartare. Photo: Bonnie Savage

If you desire a full dinner, you may get a pepper steak ($28) and I counsel you achieve this with a facet of combined leaves ($10), that are bracingly bitter and great.

But I’m extra prone to be again for snacks and drinks, and would reasonably spend my meat quota on the meat fillet tartare ($22), which is sort of too sesame- and kimchi-laden to style the standard of the fillet, however scrumptious nonetheless.

Gunn has accomplished one thing fascinating with March in that this venue, purpose-built for informal use, has been imbued with a sense of specialness; actually, the final high quality fantastic eating can nonetheless declare. 

It could possibly be a gateway drug for diners who need to expertise Ides in its full glory. Or it might simply be a brand new manner ahead, the place every thing at each degree simply retains getting higher.

Vibe: Sleek and horny

Go-to dish: Green-chilli pickled mussels ($15)

Drinks: Smart, concise checklist of cocktails, wine and sake

Cost: About $100 for 2, excluding drinks

This review was initially printed in Good Weekend journal


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