Rebranded... Virginia Plain on Flinders Lane will shut its doors to emerge as Mercy Bar + Eatery.
Rebranded... Virginia Plain on Flinders Lane will shut its doors to emerge as Mercy Bar + Eatery. Photo: Eddie Jim

Nina Rousseau

Ding, Dong! Virginia Plain is dead. Don’t panic! She’s not, dead dead, she’s just being primped and plucked and turned into something altogether sexier, that now goes by the name Mercy Bar + Eatery.

Marco Santucci is still the owner, Andy Harmer is still the chef and Mat Beyer is still front-of-house. “It was doing OK, it was just ticking along, but we felt ourselves it wasn’t what we wanted to be doing. We wanted it to be more casual,” says Beyer.

Artist Steve Cross will revamp the look with some indoor street art, the existing tables will be recycled into bar stools and there’ll be more communal seating; the whole idea is to create a “less austere”, more informal, all-day dining experience. The menu, too, will have a shake-up, still keeping its Euro bent, but with more bar-focused drinking food – “more salt, more spice”, says Beyer – such as fried quail, onion rings, chickpea fries and bloody mary shooters.

Some old faves will stay, including the pig’s trotter with scallops and black pudding, and new meaty offerings will include a roasted porchetta to share or braised beef cheeks (the new menu must-have). Mercy also plans to expand its tap beer selection.

Mercy Bar + Eatery will still take bookings for its dining section down the back, and anyone who was a previous customer at Virginia Plain will always be able to book – a thank you for being there from the start. Let’s raise our glasses to Mercy – cheers and hallelujah.

Virginia Plain will close on June 17 and will re-open as Mercy Bar + Eatery on Thursday June 20. Where: 31 Flinders Lane, City.  

-Nina Rousseau