Christian McCabe believes you don’t need to know anything about a band to enjoy going to a bar and listening to live music. And that wine is just the same.
So, it’s an uncomplicated approach to food and wine at Embla, the sister venue to The Town Mouse. Together with partner and executive chef, Dave Verheul, McCabe has made Embla like an extension of your lounge room – with better food and booze. Designed by Kiwi architect Allistar Cox, it’s all dark floors, naked wood and sandy brick. It’s fairly rustic.
The menu is mostly options best had with wine. The lamb neck is cooked in the wood oven and served with romesco sauce. A rainbow trout is served whole with horseradish and foraged purslane; a mildly sour succulent, similar to pigface.
The wine list is a collaboration with French natural wine guru, Eric Narioo, and Aussie winemaker legend, Patrick Sullivan. It’s a melange of local and international bottles, with drops such as the Gentle Folk Vin de Sofa from South Australia alongside a Jo Landron Muscadet from France. It also covers drops that McCabe says usually never make it beyond the maker and a few of his or her mates.
While Embla’s a 60-seater bar for the moment, it’ll expand upstairs with a real-deal restaurant sometime in 2017.