MELBOURNE | March is a Collingwood wine bar by owner/chef Peter Gunn, positioned as a more casual option to his fine dining restaurant, Ides, next door. Housed in the space formerly home to the sadly closed Bar SK, March is unrecognisable when you walk inside. Gone is the bright, eclectic, house party bar x video games inspired party, replaced by a subdued, calm space. Dark, natural tones and a long, deep marble bar, perfect for eating and drinking, now dominate.
It’s a venue that is following the trend of dining in a post-COVID world. Interesting, technique-driven food, but pared back. More snacky, less structured, and more casual. Like many of the recent wine bars that have opened across Melbourne this year, March’s offering is flexible. You can pop in for a drink and a snack, or order a few drinks and almost the entire menu (which Lauren and I did) and turn it into a full meal.
March might be more casual than Ides, but the shared DNA is clear when the food comes out. The menu rotates regularly, with a few favourites always available. Beef tartare with kimchi dressing and spiced crackers is a must order, the quality of the meat shining through. The unmistakable flavour of curry powder on the crackers combines to make it a moreish delight.
Also try the creamy and dense duck liver parfait tart topped with plum jelly; the no where near as basic as it sounds cos lettuce heart with sweet vinegar and chilli sugar; and the tempura enkoi mushrooms. The latter, Lauren and I both a agreed, is a top-10 Melbourne snack, with contrasting textures and a big umami hit.
For dessert, the signature Ides “Black Box”, a charcoal dusted, white chocolate cube filled with an assortment of seasonal flavours and textures, is available. It’s as great as ever, but don’t forget to ask if there’s anything sweet off-menu. When I visited, it was an outstanding mango sorbet with chocolate lattice, cacao nibs and chocolate dust.
For drinks, sommelier Hayley McCarthy has put together a tight list of interesting wines and cocktails. There’s a lot of tasty stuff available by the glass, with a Corivin on had to allow you to try drops that would usually be bottle only. If the Little Reddy x Ides collaboration Chardonnay is available when you visit, I highly recommend it. It’s a big, bold Chardonnay done right, the kind that you don’t see too often these days.
Be sure to keep an eye out for special menus available at different times of the week. Currently, there’s a keenly priced $50 bento set available on Thursdays, and an equally delicious looking $60 steak set on Wednesdays.
90 Smith Street
E-mail: [email protected]
Wed – Sat: 6:00pm to 11:00pm
Sun: 4:00pm to 11:00pm