Words like ‘institution’ and ‘iconic’ get tossed around a lot, and not always with deep justification. But France-Soir, near the top of the Toorak Road hill in Melbourne’s South Yarra, has earned both of those monikers, and some time ago. It is indeed an iconic institution, and an establishment with a loyal following that few…
La Lune Wine Co
Until he opened La Lune Wine Co, Paul Mc Givern was perhaps best known for his exploits on the fine dining scene, notably at East Brisbane’s The Wolfe, which achieved its fair share of critical acclaim. And though McGivern has pushed again into that sphere, with the opening of his eagerly anticipated Corella, at the base of Woolloongabba’s The Drapery apartment complex, the equation that underpins La Lune is one very close to his heart.
McGivern’s training naturally puts him in the back of the house, but a break from chef’s whites prior to The Wolfe saw him honing his front of house skills. And this understanding of the dynamics of human movement and interaction underpins his approach to the warm and inclusive atmosphere of La Lune. Plus, McGivern has a bit of wine cred, with a vintage in Geelong with old friend Nick Farr under his belt, as well as a stint in Burgundy in 2010. It was that Burgundian jaunt that planted the seed for La Lune, with a well-frequented Dijon wine bar capturing his imagination. So, this is McGivern’s take on his idea of a perfect wine bar.
The list runs to just shy of 200 listings, with 20 available by the glass. There are an additional eight wines inked on the subway tiles flanking the bar, with those more rarefied bottlings dispensed courtesy of a Coravin. For those more inclined to order the house wine are in for a treat, too, with Paul’s long-time pal Nick Farr (of By Farr, Farr Rising and Irrewarra fame) making a pinot noir and chardonnay just for La Lune (La Lune from a Farr – get it…) – though understandably not quite at house prices. There’s a strong appreciation for pinot noir and chardonnay on the list, but then there’s more than a decent nod to most everything else, too, with classic and more zeitgeisty bottlings rubbing shoulders quite comfortably.
Unsurprisingly, you can eat pretty seriously at La Lune, but you don’t have to either, with classic wine bar snacks and cheese plates a staple offering. There’s also a five-course tasting menu option, which can be served with or without the ever-thoughtful wine matches. With, we say!