Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Delicious 100 -

122 RUS­SELL ST, MEL­BOURNE; 9654 5923; EMBLA.COM.AU Wine bar meets restau­rant in the most bril­liant way at Embla. En­ter­ing this woody sa­loon is to ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing truly Mel­bourne, where the bal­ance of food and wine is so skil­fully struck.

Pull up at the back bar for a view of the chefs deftly work­ing the wood­fired oven in on-point snacks and share plates. Soured cu­cum­ber pieces dusted with dill pow­der are made for swip­ing through silky creamed feta, while larger dishes ex­tend to sup­ple curls of squid on a bed of fen­nel and peas.

You’ll drink well from a list bound by nei­ther grape nor ge­og­ra­phy. Nat­u­ral wines are cham­pi­oned, too. This place might be of ca­sual lunches and fun late-night tip­ples, but the menu and ser­vice op­er­ate on pre­ci­sion and am­bi­tion. In early 2018, Embla will ex­pand up­stairs with a more fully fledged restau­rant. To think this place could get better is ex­cit­ing. ■ Must-eat dish Sour cu­cum­bers ■ Cui­sine Con­tem­po­rary ■ Chef Dave Ver­heul ■ Price $ ■ Book­ings Lunch only ■ Open Mon-fri noon-late; Sat 3pm-late; Sun 1pm-10pm ■ In­sta­gram @em­bla_mel­bourne

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