At Bar Magnolia, there’s a concise French-leaning menu inspired by Parisian wine bars as well as regional Victorian restaurants like Annie Smithers’s Du Fermier in Trentham and Tansy’s in Kyneton. The offering changes frequently depending on what’s in season and what can be sourced from producers like Ocean Made Seafood and Adelaide’s Say Cheese.
Menu mainstays include Akimbo sourdough with shellfish to start; a terrine made from scratch; duck- or chicken-liver parfait; and a sweet or savoury tarte tatin, such as Jerusalem artichoke, shallot crème and roasted hazelnut.
The extensive drinks list features wines from Victoria, France and northern Italy, and a handful of classic cocktails using French spirits and aperitifs – including a Negroni Blanc, a Martini, a Lillet Rosé Spritz and a Sazerac with Armagnac and pastis.
During the day, light floods through a large stained-glass window at the front, where a built-in bar provides optimal people-watching. Inside, there’s a sleek oak bar, two massive church pews for seating, and vintage mirrors. And in the rear, beneath a curved staircase, there’s a cosy room with a fireplace.
Behind it all are winemaker Lawrence Scanlon (Dirty Black Denim Wines, Street Walking Cheetah) and chef Mia Coady-Plumb (ex-Cutler and Co, who met while working at now-closed all-day diner Theodore’s, just a two-minute walk away.
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