If there's one type of hospitality offering that Melbourne is lacking, it's the all-day venue. You know, somewhere that you can sit with a coffee and read the paper, whether it's 8am or 5pm. Somewhere that you can go to finish off some work and then transition straight into knock-off drinks. But the CBD is getting there, especially with Morgan McGlone's new morning-to-night all-rounder set to open on Collins Street on March 14.
First announced last year, Natural History is the Belles Hot Chicken chef's biggest venue to date. That's because it isn't just one venue, but, effectively, two. Up front is the cafe, which will serve up the more casual fare: coffee, doughnuts, pastries and porchetta rolls. But venture further into the space and you'll find the bar and grill — a huge 350-seat venue in the vein of upmarket bistros you might find in NYC.
It doesn't look like fried chicken is on the menu, either. Rather, diners will be able to choose from steak tartare with fried oysters, pork chops and a one-kilo T-bone steak. Desserts will be distinctly American — think key lime pie and peach cobbler.
What we're perhaps more excited about is the drinks list. McGlone has been championing natural wines for a while now, and Natural History gives him the chance to stock a full bar with them, along with local craft and non-pasteurised beers.
He's teamed up with the 100 Burgers group (Mr Burger etc.) and Michael Delany and Jaimie Wirth (of hospo partnership International Worldwide) to make the space a reality. The design aims to transport diners far away from Melbourne with vintage '60s tiling, 19th-century stained glass and a straw ceiling. There's also be a 15-metre-long taxidermy 'diorama' set up along the dining room wall, nodding to the venue's museum inspiration.