In May Nomad Group revealed it would be opening a grand new French- and New York-inspired restaurant in the former Melbourne Stock Exchange. The venue, Reine, is due to open on August 1, but ahead of the opening the team has shared a closer look at the 150-seat venue and a French classics-inspired menu conceived by Nomad executive chef Jacqui Challinor and head chef Brendan Katich.
Reine has its home in the building’s Cathedral Room, with its grand neo-gothic arches, soaring ceiling and large stained-glass windows (despite its name, the room has never been used as a religious space).
Our full story on the dining experience at Reine will be out later this week, but for now, here are some new details to whet your appetite.
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Although the dining room is historic, Nomad wants the mood and ambience to feel modern. Its original gothic arches, vaulted ceilings, solid granite columns, mosaic floors, limestone walls, marble dado and stained-glass windows remain, but working with contemporary Australian designers including Henry Wilson, Lucy Roleff and Jardan brings the space into 2023. Expect custom-made art and furnishings, including plush red velvet chairs and intimate booths with wood panelling. Nomad has worked closely with Heritage Victoria, RBA Heritage Architects and Akin Atelier on the interior design, and the restaurant features three distinct dining spaces.
It’s all about seafood with the starters. Oysters shucked to order; queen scallop with truffle butter; fruit de mer; and eastern rock lobster cocktail with endive and rouille. A vegetarian option will be a dish of roast leeks vinaigrette with hazelnuts.
An extensive “from the grill” section includes: whole fish served with sea herbs and sauce verte; Great Ocean duck with sugarloaf cabbage and jus gras; and a variety of Blackmore and O’Connor steaks with a plethora of condiments to choose from (bordelaise, au poivre, bearnaise, cafe de Paris, sauce verte or mustard). Other dishes on the opening menu include local hand-picked mud crab brandade, a French dish typically made with salt cod and pureed olive oil and milk; and Corner Inlet calamari served with cafe de Paris butter. A mushroom pithivier features soubise and chestnut.
Pastry chef Vencenza Soto has put together a list including tarte tatin; a chocolate, espresso and caramel tart; and a Jersey milk soft serve (from an in-house machine) garnished with hazelnuts and olive oil from the Mornington Peninsula.
A Raffles Singapore-inspired cheese trolley will be making the rounds loaded up with local and international wheels cut tableside.
In addition to homing in on Victorian drops, there’ll be a focus on French and American wines across a 700-long wine list that includes more than 40 by-the-glass options. If you’re after something stronger, Martinis, Manhattans, Sazeracs and other classic New York cocktails are the name of the game.
380 Collins Street, Melbourne
Tues to Sat 12pm–late (dinner served from 5pm)