Andrew McConnell sure knows how to celebrate. On the eve of Cutler & Co.’s seventh birthday, he’s gifted the people of Melbourne a brand new wine bar, situated next door to the iconic Modern Australian restaurant.
Marion fills the void of a neighbourhood wine bar, offering guests of Cutler & Co. a spot to extend their experience both pre- and post-dinner. The concept was inspired by approachable drinking and dining establishments and is intended to be somewhere you can stop by briefly or settle in for the whole night.
As such, you don’t necessarily have to be eating next door to try Marion’s wares. The menu’s offerings are seasonal and generous, with brunch served on the weekends and a kitchen that stays open throughout the day until late.
The team behind the concept are all familiar faces. Allan Eccles, ex-sous chef at Cutler & Co., leads the kitchen, and Andrew Joy looks after front of house, having worked in a myriad of McConnell establishments over the last 10 years. Cutler & Co.’s sommelier, Liam O’Brien, also joins the team, bringing his passion and knowledge to the wine offerings.
The open kitchen means you get a glimpse into how Allan’s small but skilled team works, using simple techniques and the best local produce for beautiful dishes that just jump off the plate. The menu changes daily, with a range of small and larger plates allowing for flexible feasting. Past dishes have included anchovy and lemon-marinated zucchini flowers, duck heart yakitori and a range of oysters. Charcuterie comes courtesy of Andrew’s butcher Meatsmith and there’s always a host of cheeses to try. Larger dishes could include dry-aged porterhouse, pasta or pork chop.
The main event is the breadth of wine. Sharing the cellar of its neighbour means Marion boasts the most in-depth collection in the area, including drops dated from before some guests were born. There’s an emphasis on producers of small vintages, as well as wines you may not find elsewhere – chenin blanc, gamay, orange and minimal intervention drops all appear. Opt for a glass or embrace the inevitable by ordering a bottle – with so much on offer, you’ll want to stick around for at least one.
Housed in the former Economic Industries factory office, Marion expertly combines its industrial history with a modern touch. Designed by IF Architecture Director Iva Foschia, it features the original factory flooring, a copper façade and whitewashed exposed brick, as well as natural finishes of oak, leather and glass.
With a mixture of seating and standing room, the wine bar has space for everyone. Midweek, stop by for a cheeky tipple, or drop in on Friday when lunch is served from 12, or stop by on the weekends when brunch is served from 8am.