What a power couple: Andrew McConnell’s slick wine bar Marion, and Baker Bleu, one of the best bakeries in town. The two have paired up to open a very well-stocked grocer where you can pick up baked goods – bagels, bread, croissants, crumpets and more – as well as fresh-produce boxes, St David’s Dairy milk and butter, and minimal-intervention wine by the half-dozen. A king-size version of the famed fish pie from fellow McConnell eatery the Builder’s Arms is available, too (it serves two), or load up on pantry staples such as tomato sugo, pasta and Oritz anchovies. Either way, that’s dinner sorted. Order ahead for pick-up or pop in (one at a time) for takeaway.
Andrew McConnell’s Marion is a wine bar for serious grape lovers. Spanning two shopfronts next door to Cutler & Co. on Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street, and laying claim to the most impressive and comprehensive wine list in the area, it’s the sort of place where you might stop in for a glass but can’t help staying for a bottle.
It’s an industrial-style fit-out; think white-washed brick walls, lots of glass, black leather and dark wood and a floor untouched since the site’s days as a metal plating factory. The room is divided into two parts: an open kitchen serves as a key feature of the room on the left-hand side, and there’s a small curved bar and ceiling-high wine racks on the right. Both rooms have a mixture of seating, standing and leaning space, and there are plenty of curb-side spots too.
A lengthy permanent wine list covers the major grape varieties, but also devotes entire sections to less familiar varietals such as grüner veltliner, chenin blanc and gamay. Orange and minimal-intervention wines feature, and there are sections for half-bottles and magnums. There’s also a shorter changing list of new and interesting wines the team is enjoying at the time, plus 15-odd wines-by-the-glass that are on offer at any given time.
The food menu changes daily, but you can expect a range of small bites such as oysters, bay scallops or charcuterie from McConnell’s own butcher, Meatsmith. Larger plates might include pasta or porterhouse steak. There will always be plenty of cheese, and maybe a tart or two for dessert. On weekends, Marion opens for breakfast until 11:30am.
A recipe from Marion is featured in The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. Buy your copy at shop.broadsheet.com.au.