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Embla Has Finally Opened the Doors to its Rustic Upstairs Restaurant Lesa

Dave Verheul and Christian McCabe's highly anticipated new restaurant is here.
By Libby Curran
August 10, 2018
By Libby Curran
August 10, 2018

Christian McCabe and Dave Verheul haven't been sitting on their hands since closing their much-loved eatery The Town Mouse earlier this year. It seems they've actually been quite busy. In excellent news for anyone mourning the loss of the Carlton restaurant, the pair has just opened a rustic new eatery, dubbed Lesa.

The boys have transformed the space above their Russell Street wine bar Embla into the ultimate escape from all of that CBD hustle and bustle. Exposed bricks and reclaimed farmhouse benches lend a warm, rustic feel, completed by wooden banquettes with black leather cushions. A window at the back of the space looks through to McCabe's prized wine room, its sprawling collection heroing minimal intervention drops and Old World iterations.

The duo has created a slower, more intimate sort of dining experience, with both food and a setting to linger over. Lesa has forgone an a la carte offering in favour of a four-course set menu, with a six-course and late-week lunch options to be added in the upcoming weeks.

A woodfire takes pride of place in the kitchen, preparing dishes such as slow-roasted pumpkin, aged pork loin and hapuka with fermented fennel butter. Not everything touches fire, however, first courses feature raw flounder — paired with hazelnut, green almond and pear leaf — and veal tartare with braised saltbush.

At the other end of the menu, you'll find salted bergamot meringue, preserved nectarines with buttermilk and a tart of délice de Bourgogne — a French cow's milk cheese from Burgundy. Well, for now, the menu will change regularly.

Embla was one of our favourite bars of the year when it opened in 2016, so expect big things when you head upstairs to Lesa.

Find Lesa at Floor 1, 122 Russell St, Melbourne.

Images: Kristoffer Paulsen

Published on August 10, 2018 by Libby Curran


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