Following an extensive renovation and months of anticipation, acclaimed restaurateurs Christian McCabe and Dave Verheul can finally announce that their latest venue, Lesa will open its doors in early August. Embracing a slower pace of dining, Lesa will be a place to gather and step away from Melbourne’s hustle. A set menu served at a relaxed pace will allow diners to spend an evening connecting over food and wine.
“Good dining is about creating intimacy and a connection to the common occasion. The Lesa dining room is up off the street, a bit more private, and lends itself to spending the evening,” says McCabe. Verheul’s menu will build on his ingredient-focused and meticulously presented style that Melbourne has come to love. Guests will sit down to four-courses, which they will be encouraged to select individually, in a move that distances the venue from shared plates. Expect choices including; semi-dried potato cacio epepe, basil & pecorino; salted bergamot, walnut & koji île flottante. Those looking for a pre-theatre dinner, or a business lunch will able to choose from a tight two-course menu.
Signature green tiles line the open kitchen, which houses a large wood-fired hearth allowing Verheul to slow cook, smoke and grill his dishes. Four seats will see the action first hand as they line the kitchen pass.
Designed by Allister Cox, a rustic dining room, complete with original exposed brick work, a dark wood sarking ceiling and stained oak flooring nods to the theme of returning to the original pretense of dining. Tall, black steel framed windows have been installed throughout and flood the room with natural light, whilst wooden banquette seating accented with dark cushions lines the main dining space. Larger round tables will seat groups of six to eight.
At the rear of the venue is a separate wine room with a clear glass frontage that will be home to wine McCabe has been collecting ever since he made the move to Melbourne. Expect a thought-provoking wine list, extensive but not exhaustive, focusing on minimal intervention Australian producers and Old-World vintages. Assisting McCabe with the wine program will be former Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of the Year Raffaele Maestrovincenzo.
The team at Lesa will be a reflection of McCabe and Verheul’s longstanding career in hospitality, James Kelly will be accompanying Verheul in the kitchen, and Drew Green and McCabe will run the floor, as the new venue allows for the organic evolution of their team and the talent they’ve cultivated. Reservations for Lesa will be available from late July.
Address: Floor 2, 122 Russell St, Melbourne 3000
Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday for dinner, Thursday and Friday lunch