Ascend the stairs to meet Lesa, the long-awaited venture from acclaimed restaurateurs Christian McCabe and Dave Verheul. Embracing a slower pace of dining, Lesa invites guests to settle in and spend an evening connecting over food and wine.
“During the construction phase we found the room was really conducive to lingering. We hope that people will feel the same way, and have done our best to make sure it’s a place you never want to leave,” says McCabe.
Patrons at Lesa will tailor a four-course dining experience from a regularly changing, produce-driven menu, executed in signature Verheul style. A six-course option and late-week lunch sittings will be available in the weeks to come.
Menu choices will include a raw flounder with hazelnut, green almond & pear leaf, a chicken porridge made with almond milk & black chestnut, an aged pork loin, buckwheat miso, kale & pickled walnut and a salted bergamot meringue accompanied with koji, walnut & quince.
Of his menu, Verheul says, “the food will show a selection of old world techniques presented in a new world way.”
A thought-provoking wine list, extensive but not exhaustive, features pours and pallets collected by McCabe since moving to Melbourne, with a focus on minimal intervention Australian producers and old- world vintages. Assisting McCabe with the wine program is former Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of the Year Raffaele Mastrovincenzo.
McCabe and Verheul worked closely with long-time collaborator ALLISTARCOX Architecture to conceptualise an inherently soulful space, recreating the shell and fabric of the existing building.
The pared back, rustic interior features exposed brick, textural timber and bespoke steel-framed factory style windows. In the evening, antique lighting casts a moody ambience, slung low from dark walnut timber battens panelling the ceiling.
Warm wooden banquette seating padded with sleek black leather cushions wraps the dining room walls with tables for two, while round European oak tables and reclaimed farmhouse benches host larger groups. Four stools line the kitchen, for those wishing to watch Verheul’s team meticulously preparing and plating dishes from the centrepiece wood-fire oven.
Glossy bottle-green tiles line the kitchen wall, and a generous glass-fronted wine room hosting McCabe’s extensive collection teases that Lesa, at her heart, is designed for the celebration of consumption.
Floor 1, 122 Russell St, Melbourne 3000 | @lesa_melbourne | www.lesarestaurant.com.au