History will be made today when Morgan McGlone and 100 Burgers Group, together with the International Worldwide design team open their 240-seat classic big-city bar and grill and café at 401 Collins Street, Natural History Bar & Grill.
Taking over a 1940s old bank site, Natural History will be a big city bar and grill in the classic mode, with the decor and mood inspired by places like New York institution, The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station.
Natural History will change gears throughout the day, from the bustling Porchetta Bar Cafe in the morning (licensed from 7am), through to business power lunching and rowdy after work schooner sessions, and into long evening feasts with the world’s best natural wines on pour. The room is designed with many and varied seating options, perfect for people watching, hiding in booths or watching the kitchen at work from the chef’s table.
Executive chef/owner McGlone’s menu will showcase Southern-style bar and grill classic dishes including: beef tartare with smoked oyster, soy egg, beef tendon chips; pork chop with roasted onions and beer mustard; lamb Barnsley chop with lamb jus and mint jelly; and free-range roast chicken. There will also be a rotating menu of sandwiches including: the 401 reuben; smoked baloney; and the McRib sandwich. The Natural History menu isn’t just for carnivores and will feature vegan options including: roasted cauliflower and grains, served with toasted and sprouted grains, green mustards; and a dish of salt-baked beets, lemon verbena oil and pistachio Pistou.
For pudding (desserts), choose the Peach Charlotte of vanilla poundcake with peaches and caramel; or the Vacherin with strawberry and rhubarb.
Of the menu McGlone says: “My food focus at Natural History is that we want to pay homage to all the great steak houses of America; Keens, Hillstone, Peter Luger.
“The food will have influences from all over since we are from everywhere cooking in Australia. What Neil Perry achieved with Rockpool Bar & Grill is what I consider the benchmark for steak houses in Australia. We hope that people will enjoy what we are doing at Natural History as much.”
Sommelier Gavin Wraith, along with McGlone, have put together a wine list with a strong natural focus, sourced from smaller and new wave Australian producers. The list will also pay homage to the ‘old school’ as well.
Wraith says: “We like our food 'farm to table' and there's a reason for that; we know where it comes from, we know who produces it and we know they are passionate, dedicated people, producing the best product they can, always striving for better. Why should our thoughts wine be any different?
We’re not looking for jazzy labels, wax tops or organic certifications. We’re going to list great wine made by great people”.
The spectacular 15 metre long diorama backdrop, that runs the main wall of the venue, created and designed by International Worldwide’s Michael Delany is an eye-catching feature throughout the restaurant. Inspired by similar displays from the world’s great museums, Delany and creative partner Jaimie Wirth engaged artist Vanja Zaric to create the three five metre elements which feature over 20 taxidermy specimens, purchased from local dealers who ethically sourced the chosen pieces from Australia and abroad.
The overall colour scheme is warm and dark. Custom elements throughout the venue include large steel and glass chandeliers, log wall sconces and reconditioned vintage captain’s chairs. The bar top in the Porchetta Bar is made up of hundreds of matchboxes sourced from around the world and set under glass.
Natural History will open Monday to Saturday from 7am to late.