Restaurant Guide


Looking for the roots of Melbourne’s current wine-bar craze? All roads lead to Embla.
The dining room at Embla in Melbourne.Kristoffer Paulsen
122 Russell St, Melbourne


Looking for the roots of Melbourne’s current wine-bar craze? All roads lead to Embla. Not that this essential CBD joint with its open, wood-fired kitchen was the first lo-fi wine bar in town. But what Kiwis Dave Verheul (chef) and Christian McCabe (wine guy) have done is redefine what “Melbourne wine bar” means, particularly when it comes to the food which has always taken its cues from whatever’s in the glass rather than the more familiar vice-versa approach. Verheul’s cooking – veg-forward, with a fondness for pickling and fermenting – includes menu stalwarts like dill-dusted crisp soured cucumbers served with feta and brilliant sourdough bread alongside a changing roster of dishes. Think smoked duck-liver parfait with rhubarb and witlof; wood-roasted spatchcock accompanied by Brussels sprouts and salted mandarins, or a highly addictive koji crème caramel with burnt pear. All the while, service is never anything less than outstanding. Drop by to see where it all began.




122 Russell St, Melbourne

0455 122 121

Chef: Dave Verheul

Open: Lunch Wed-Sat; Dinner Mon-Sat

Price guide: $

Bookings: Recommended

Wheelchair access: Yes

This review was written independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide’s reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way. To learn more about the process, head over here.

Gourmet Traveller Annual Restaurant Guide

Our guide gives a yearly snapshot of the best restaurants to eat at right now. The best-rated restaurants, as judged by the reviewers’ first-hand experience, form our national guide.

122 Russell St, Melbourne
Dave Verheul
Price Guide
Wheelchair Access
Opening Hours
Lunch Wed-Sat; Dinner Mon-Sat

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