Lesa, Melbourne

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MELBOURNE | The Town Mouse was one of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne when it was around, and I’ve been to Embla many a time for a drink and feed, but somehow I hadn’t gotten myself upstairs to Lesa until recently.

Christian McCabe and chef Dave Verheul’s CBD restaurant is the natural progression from Town Mouse and, unlike the bar downstairs, is very much a restaurant. The space is relaxed and refined, with a European ski resort cabin kind of feel about it. Lots of wood, rustic furniture, vintage posters, and soft lighting.

The food is recognisably Verheul – simple, creative, and technique driven with seasonal ingredients, unseasonal fermented goodness, and a keen use of fire in the kitchen. The wine list, as one would expect given the offering downstairs, is fantastic. It traverses the globe and contains traditional varietals and more quirky new age wines. Staff are well versed in all of the wines on the menu, and particular praise goes to them for being able to make even the weird and wonderful wines on the list accessible.

The menu is short and simple and, while not designed for sharing, you can easily split each dish between two if you like. You can opt for either the four course option ($88.00) or the full tasting menu ($125.00). There’s also a two course “pre theatre” menu available ($55.00) from 5:30pm until 6:15pm. The four course menu features your choice of one of three dishes from each course, but with food like this the short range of options doesn’t make deciding what to order any easier.

Preserved chicken with kale, yuzu, and pine nut is a great choice for your first course. In fact, it’s one of the few dishes that’s consistently been on the menu since Lesa opened. Arrow squid with parsley braised in clam stock wasn’t on the menu when we visited, but we’ve been told it’s one of the best things that many people have eaten here. Our highlight of the meal came in the second course. Supremely tender pork jowl with white onion, radicchio & blood orange. A wonderful combination of flavours and textures. For the third course, try the beautifully textured john dory fillet with white asparagus, and miners lettuce.

The fourth course is dessert, and we were split on which of the two we liked more. The chocolate based with milk parfait, violet honey and fermented nectarine is great. The nectarine is a revelation – think tinned nectarines done right. Equally delicious is the bergamot sorbet with lemon, white chocolate, and peanut. A wonderfully light, refreshing blend of flavours.

Lesa means “to gather” in Old Norse, and Lesa definitely a place that you should check out the next time you want to gather some friends for dinner in the city.

Lesa

L1, 122 Russell Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9935 9838
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Sat, Wed: 5:30pm to 11:00pm
Thu – Fri: 12:00pm to 3:000m; 5:30pm to 11:00pm

Lesa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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