Right from the get-go, Embla
was everyone's go-to for every occasion demanding food and wine. It could be somewhere for a quick bite, a fancy meal, or just wine and cheese if you landed between service times. It was a wine bar with show-stopping eats and people were very, very into it.
Now head chef Dave Verheul and restaurateur Christian McCabe are ready for round two, a relaxed dining room above their buzzy wine bar and restaurant. They've called the new restaurant Lesa – an old Norse word meaning 'to gather' – and the plan is to embrace a slower dining pace.
Don't worry about the hard decisions because it's going to be a four-course set menu, but in a move away from the tyranny of share plates, here you choose your own meal. The hottest seats in the house will be the four lining the pass where you'll be able to watch Verheul as he cooks over a woodfire hearth, or you can cool your heels along the timber banquettes. They'll even have big tables for eight, so put it on your mental list for birthday bookings, because nothing says 'I'm older now' like smashing some minimal intervention wine while one of Melbourne's best chefs cooks your dinner.
Lesa, Floor 2, 122 Russell St Melbourne 3000. Dinner Wed-Sat; Lunch Thu, Fri.