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By Libby Curran
May 05, 2021
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By Libby Curran
May 05, 2021
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Vegan maestro Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters, Smith & Deli) and Euro-focused Ian Curley (The European, Kirk's Wine Bar) might seem like an unlikely chef pairing. But they're already working magic together at the helm of new all-day plant-based bar and eatery, Lona Misa — the colourful 90-seat venue that's made its home within the new Ovolo South Yarra hotel.

Here, the two celebrated chefs have crafted an entirely vegan and vegetarian menu that's designed to shake up your preconceptions of plant-based dining. Vibrant and unapologetic, with plenty of Latin influences, it's serving up a share-friendly lineup that bears both the marks of Martinez's signature rebellious stylings and touches of Curley's fine dining flair. Every dish is vegan, with some offering the option to add cheese.

By day, you might find yourself tucking into the likes of a vegan take on baccala (salt cod) fritters ($14), oyster mushroom ceviche ($16), and a classic smash patty burger served with Chilean lime salt chips ($25).

As evening approaches, the space embraces more of a wine bar vibe, complemented by snacks like the padron pepper and manchego croquettes ($5), warm cheese dip topped with crispy faux chorizo ($15), and chargrilled baby corn finished with an ancho chilli and coffee mayo ($16). Larger plates might include a Brazilian seafood stew ($24), tomatillo-braised chicken tamales ($20) and, from the Josper grill, a fire-roasted whole peri peri cauliflower ($26).

Lona Misa's drinks offering also heroes the local and the seasonal. Expect a solid spread of Spanish, Argentinian and Aussie wines by the glass, alongside bold plant-based cocktails — like the Rumba Caliente crafted on jalapeno mezcal and smoked watermelon — and some satisfyingly crafty booze-free concoctions.

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