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