Embla Wine Bar Loves Melbourne
Embla in Russell Street CBD is one of the hottest wine bars in Melbourne right now; and is championing a refined yet a more relaxed style than most. The World Loves Melbourne imbibed a joyous night out with Paul and Lauren from leading digital publication The City Lane.
After a brief catch up at Milk the Cow we had decided on a proper catch up at Embla, a rising star on the Melbourne bar and dining scene. Bumping into Christian McCabe at the Milk the Cow event we were hoping to catch him again at Embla (he was out but it's all good). At times the blogger circuit can get frustrating; The World Loves Melbourne says "no" to many of the invites for events and meals, preferring to visit the places we want to eat at (like Embla). It was awesome to catch up with Paul and Lauren and pay for our meals (as opposed to some freebie blogger events).
Embla is the sibling of much acclaimed The Town Mouse; a hatted restaurant in Carlton that continues to impress. With pedigree like this we were sure Embla would inspire. Christian McCabe and Dave Verheul have struck a chord with a wine bar and wood oven combination. Just to get a table here is an achievement; a half hour wait at the bar ensued. While it's described as a wine bar, The World Loves Melbourne considered the quality of food and wine of Embla to be more like a worthy modern restaurant.
Embla is about the raw, the innovative and the fire.
Wine list at Embla impresses with unique wines sourced from boutique Australian producers, as well as an alluring international list. Enjoy wines by the glass or do what we did and order a couple of bottles. The wine list featured funky new age wines as opposed to classics The World Loves Melbourne may have recognised.
Paul and Lauren from The City Lane are influential on the Melbourne scene with bespoke content, a series of successful pop ups, travel guides and more. A recent post by Paul called for an evening up of the Melbourne review scene and greater opportunity for restaurants without large budgets to have access to blogger reviews.
Anchovy toasts with cultured butter were exceptional, receiving high praise from food critic Pat Nourse in an Instagram post. Salty crunchy buttery bliss. The sort of food that generates repeat visits.
Stracciatella, camomile oil, fermented fennel. A simple light and delicate textured dish.
Pickled mussels served with rouille was a stunning dish. Piquant, sweet and juicy; perfect food with standout wines. Nouveau cuisine.
We hadn't seen too much social media but Embla was packed all night. Word is out. A dark and moody but comforting vibe. Interestingly, albeit a new bar, it felt quintessentially Melbourne.
Snapper (rather than Flounder), charred kale, oyster, seaweed. We were told the fish would be Snapper not the Flounder, which is also great because The World Loves Melbourne loves snapper, a perfect fish to cook in a wood oven. The Town Mouse knows what to do with kale and so does Embla. This is modern food at its best, wood oven cooked Snapper with the crunch of kale, and the creaminess of the sauce.
Wine and more wine... Hey, it's a wine bar. We opted for French wines from Burgundy followed by Save our Souls from Victoria, one of many small bespoke wine producers who pack a punch.
A highlight of the evening was this Creamed corn, cream fraiche, oregano, dried citrus. This was another dish worth returning for.
Perch at a stool at the bar or grab a table. Timber features, rustic brick and boards, with chic lighting brings an attractive ambience.
Black Angas bavette, tarragon, green beans. The meat is tender with suitable outer char.
Chefs at work cooking in a custom-built wood-fired oven or over Red Gum and Mallee root charcoal on an open grill. The World Loves Melbourne was advised not to sit on 2 stools next to the radiant heat as it can get too warm (maybe an attractive proposition in winter).
Half roast chicken has a simple description but perfectly cooked in the wood oven it's a dining sensation. Pour the chicken sauce/gravy over the chicken and enjoy the roasted garlic cloves.
Blood plum, yoghurt, fennel flower.
A selection of cheeses is available; we went with Blue Cheese and a couple of desserts.
Rum & raisin ice cream, black figs is a delightful dessert.
Embla is one of the hottest bar and dining destinations on the scene and one you'll make a keeper.