10 Feb 2016

Toorak Road lifts its game with a new wine bar and great snacks.

It arrives on a board, as simple as a dish can come. A cheek of lemon to one side, a delicate mound of salt to the other. Between the purple-tinged suckers on a long curling tentacle, a bone-handled Lagoile knife. Its simple listing on the menu as “smoked octopus” does little justice to the most dramatic bar snack in town. Simple. Elegant. A bit different. South Press is just that type of wine bar.


Opening late last year at the top end of South Yarra, South Press has joined the recent tide of new-wave bars doing wine with class and food of note.

And while here that food lacks the wood oven of Embla, or the full kitchen of Marion, you’ll find instead Iberian cheese and charcuterie that’s stuff of simple dreams. Boy, it’s good.

A pork and prune terrine, dense and deeply rich, is mostly meat tempered with a touch of sweet smooshy prune, while a hunk of raw milk mahon from Menorca is razor sharp and salty. Served with little bags of piquitos (breadsticks) this is meat, bread and cheese that’s eager to please.

Spiced corn kernels provide good gratis snack, perfect with a textural and crunchy glass of Gruner vertliner that’s just one glass of the good drinking from worlds old and new priced at ordering another.

Marty McCaig (ex-Entrecote) has joined with Adam North and David Maconochie from Hopkins River Beef to create this simple, elegant space, where you’ll find a leather banquette and high stool seating inside along with some arresting well-placed pieces of art on the walls.

But on these long-light nights better still head out back to the glorious verdant courtyard that provides welcome respite from the parade of gleaming Evokes and Q7s that line Toorak Road.

Grab an icy Eden Valley riesling or, even better, pop the cork on a bottle of Billecart – they’re just $15 more to drink in than to grab and go. At once wine store and wine bar, it’s the best of both worlds. Simple and elegant, South Press brings an accessible touch of youthful yet understated style to a stretch of Toorak Road not ordinarily known for being either.