Natural History Public Bar
Chef Morgan McGlone and the 100 Burgers Group (Belle’s Hot Chicken, Mr Burger, Welcome to Thornbury, Hightail) has turned the 1940s building Natural History is in into a suave late-night American diner slash steakhouse slash caviar and oyster bar.
The fit-out takes cues from Manhattan’s Natural History Museum and the century-old Grand Central Oyster Bar but has playfulness woven into that.
Guests perch on red vinyl stools at the glass-topped porchetta bar. The oyster bar is an oval ringed by dark leather stools and green glass partitions. Warm, mustardy hues continue through to the steakhouse where the central bar is padded with grape-red leather and brass inlays and egg-white-and-yellow walls.
Then there are the taxidermy beasts. There’s a duck flying among the stars, a white peacock against a weird tie-dye moon, and dog-eared skinny foxes that look longingly down at diners hoeing into pork chops with onions roasted with beer, and cheesecake with cherries and cream.
The menu is diverse, an homage to the old steak houses of New York, with a modern Australian slant. Steak comes in a one-kilo club, 500-gram rib eye, eye-fillet; sliced hanger tartare served with puffed beef tendon chips and hot sauce; and a burger. The menu’s pescatarian and vegetarian options include a roasted cauliflower and toasted-grains dish with vegan apple butter, and the summer vegetable house gnocchi.
And there’s a gluten-free and pasta-free crab lasagne. It’s layers of charred, shaved zucchini and dainty flakes of spanner crab sitting in a creamy, herby fresh-tomato sauce. The wine list is more than 50 per cent natural.