A clever new wine bar in Collingwood offers exciting pours and applause-worthy snacks to match.
Dec 15, 2022 11:30pm
A word of advice: by all means, check out sommelier Hayley McCarthy’s drinks list at new Collingwood wine bar March. It’s among the cleverest, most interesting short lists in town with small producer Loire Valley chenin blanc and primitivo from Puglia rubbing shoulders with perfectly chilled and diluted pre-batched Martinis, almost spiritual sake from places like Kyoto and Hiroshima and excellent vintage Armagnac.
The list is a great entry point but do not miss out on the opportunity to converse with McCarthy herself. Not only is she one of those rare wine unicorns who can chat about the stuff without being insufferably boring, but she’ll always have something delicious on pour that’s not listed and might just knock your socks off. The approach is how the best of these type of establishments do it; taking the wine part of the equation seriously while paying equal attention to the enjoyment factor.
Here that means a thoughtfully dark, handsome and intimate carpeted space, a compact 26 seats and a central bar, low with a wide marble top, comfortable timber stools, slate-coloured walls and a glass-walled wine cellar at the rear of the room. The striped carpet runs from the floor up the front of the bar, adding both visual and acoustic value to the room.
The Japanese bar model is obviously at play at March but dishes like the superb, tender-sticky sweet and sour quail dusted with prickly ash (a Sichuan pepper and salt mix) and a Cape Grim bavette marinated for 24 hours in a marinade of black pepper, honey and soy before being grilled and served with puffed wild rice also underline its modern Melbourne wine bar roots too.
Every dish on the menu is snack-sized but can be easily combined into a dinner-sized amount of food, which is something worth paying attention to because March is one of those places where a quick drink can easily morph into making a night of it, an inevitable by-product of a place offering truly interesting food and booze alongside great service and atmosphere.
For more restaurant reviews, check out our 2022 December issue on sale now.