TOP 100 QUEST: MARION, Melbourne
Let’s face it – Andrew McConnell is my food hero, so I was more than happy to head off to one of his new places that made the Top 100 list this year. In fact it’s situated right next door to another of his Top 100 ventures, Cutler & Co. in Fitzroy, formerly number one on the list. This particular trip to Melbourne, I’d booked 8 Top 100s over 9 days, and Marion was the second one, so not even a hint of palate fatigue at this point!
It was a nice sunny day and Marion was already busy by the time the two of us got there for lunch at 12:30pm. The place occupies a former double shopfront which results in two main dining spaces. It’s quite intimate in that the tables are pretty close together, but I’m liking the relaxed feel – the vibe of a wine bar – one serving good food by Cutler & Co. sous chef Allan Eccles. The wine list has a bent towards smaller producers, with quite a few international and orange wines.
I was well aware that I had a seven course meal coming that night, but I didn’t let that stop me. I’d had no breakfast and I was in need of food. The menu’s nicely concise and we chose a couple of things from the snacks menu. My eyes went straight to the Grilled duck hearts, parsley, horseradish. I love hearts – growing up, chicken hearts were always a bit of a treat (that’s what you get growing up in a Chinese household). It seems that duck hearts are becoming quite the thing – this was one of three dishes within three days I had that included them (all Top 100s).
The people at the table next to us insisted we order some Prawn Rolls and we’re glad we took their advice – light golden buns with big prawns, a nice dollop of horseradish and nasturtium oil. We could have had more of those – but no, we had to keep room for other offerings – the Calamari with green tomatoes and harissa and the Broad beans, peas, stracciatella and pistachio (broad beans and peas are two of my favourite things). So good. Quantity-wise, we could easily have stopped there but no, we thought a bit of red meat was in order – the Chargrilled 250g porterhouse with fries, accompanied by the Asparagus, comte custard and cured yolk.
Full to the brim, chardonnayed-up and extremely happy, we waddled out.
I loved Marion. A really enjoyable experience. The food is well priced and it’s casual food in a relaxed vibe. I’d love to go again.