Park Pantry has been quietly serving as a takeaway coffee, sandwich and pastry shop for a few months now. But two weeks ago, after a light refurb, the 16-seat venue, led by sommelier Jeremy Vogrin, started operating as a wine bar, too.
The petite spot was formerly Le Derriere by Entrecote, one of Melbourne’s best-known French eateries. The Entrecote team closed the space when they relocated from Yarra to Prahran in 2021, and it sat empty for over a year before Vogrin took it over.
Vogrin, who previously worked at Le Derriere by Entrecote, has kept a lot of the design details. The brief to Shaping Interiors’ Rebecca Rourke was to keep the French feeling, therefore the light fittings and cabinetry remain; she even colour-matched the green colour scheme that calls to mind the famous Paris Metro stations. “I just wanted to draw back all the clientele they’d lost after closing,” says Vogrin. And he decided to keep a similar food offering, too.
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While Vogrin started the spot on his own, about a month ago he enlisted French-German chef MarcAntoine ThomasPierre Nicolaii and gave him total freedom over the food offering. During the day there are sandwiches including a croque monsieur with mortadella; pork and apple sausage rolls; boeuf bourguignon pies; and a salad nicoise.
Park Pantry becomes a wine bar at 4pm on weekdays and 12pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The food then includes corn polenta with foraged mushrooms, tiger prawns with a saffron risotto and a confit duck that Vogrin describes as “ridiculously amazing”. There are also smaller snacks like Merimbula rock oysters with a hibiscus mignonette and house-made cured meats.
Given Vogrin’s sommelier credentials, it’s no surprise that there’s a “very smart, small list” on offer. “The whole idea around the wine list was to hit as many regions as I could so I could give two things,” he says. “I wanted people to be able to see different wine varietals from different countries, and at the same time find the exact wines that were going to be perfect to fit with the food menu.”
Expect German rieslings and rosé from Provence, alongside pinot noir from Gevrey-Chambertin in France, chardonnays from Montagny, and more chardonnays from one of Vogrin’s favourite local producers, Giant Steps.
Next, the duo are working on picnic baskets that guests can enjoy in the park, as well as take-home meals made in-house and then snap-frozen.
The goal is to continue building a wholesome neighbourhood spot. “We’re here because we want to be the meeting place for locals or people who want to hang out and meet for a drink or cocktails before they go for dinner or somewhere else that’s local.”
Vogrin wants to create the kind of neighbourhood place where, in his words, you can “come in and order a coffee, but leave as a friend”.
119 Park Street, South Yarra