Since opening in 2016, Peter Gunn’s Ideas has sat in the upper echelon of Melbourne’s dining scene, serving up a tasting menu that’s at least several years ahead of its time with every update. While Gunn is a true chef, the one thing that might be considered unattainable in his kitchen is locking in a reservation at the gourmet restaurant on Smith Street, although the sister restaurant that just opened next door, Marchis about to change that.
The March idea has been in the works for quite some time. Somewhere that first works synergistically under the Ides banner—providing an alcoholic haven for pre- and/or post-Ides drinking—while carrying enough clout to be considered its own institution.
“They work in synergy and they work alone. It was the mindset that it really is a sister venue, they can be enjoyed on the same night but they are very self contained and carry weight on their own,” Gunn said.
Like Ides, the menu, both food and drink, draws inspiration from Gunn’s rich experience and caliber as a chef. Cutting his teeth as a sous chef at Attica in the years before Ides brings several elements to what’s on the plate before you, while his travels round out an offering that’s as mature as it is progressive.
“This [the menu] was an accumulation of French wine bars in izakaya.”
“What I loved in my travels was in Paris, and where these bistros and fine dining restaurants had sister restaurants right next door. They were joined by their underground cellars and that’s something I wanted to bring to Melbourne,” Gunn said.
And Gunn brings the best elements of this culinary fusion to the March 10-course menu where most, like the delicate green chili-marinated mussels or the kimchi-laden beef tartare, are light enough to be considered pre-dinner. . , or combined to create a typical Gunn meal.
While one to 10 are successes in their own right – just take the steamed nuggets of sake with yuzu parsley butter – there are several “heroes” who will fill them up after the full experience. The choice is yours, and it can be a tough one, between a whole quail served with bright and bold coriander oil, or what is perhaps the most delicate pork belly in Melbourne paired with a spicy nori glaze.
“It was important that we made sure there were only a few larger style dishes that could go with some of our smaller plates. Everything is available to share, which is a nod to our city and how Melburnians have really embraced the culture of sharing,” said Gunn.
Unlike Ides and its tasting menus, however, you have the flexibility to have your March trip the way you like it, and that goes for the alcoholic beverage list as well. The by-the-glass program is shared with the neighbor, though a long list of sakes, which the team has researched meticulously and will generously share their knowledge, gives this Smith Street venue another point of distinction.
“The team loves interacting with people who haven’t necessarily tasted sake before. If we get someone who likes a certain style of wine, we might have sake that leans towards the direction; we let them taste a bit and then they have a drink, and then all of a sudden they have something new that they don’t necessarily have in a wine bar or in a bar in town.
Still, those familiar with the Ides restaurant brand will appreciate the shared sensibilities between the two. The gourmet restaurant’s ambient light signature is mimicked in March, the playlists remain the same between the two, while the kitchen, linking March and Ides, prepares Gunn’s work with the equal precision we’ve come to expect over the years. year.
Mars is now open – for a defining dinner in its own right and as a bookend for an evening at the Ides. Find both at 90 and 92 Smith Street.
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Image credit: provided