Nick Stanton, Guy Bentley and Jonathan Harper didn’t plan to open a second restaurant so close to their first, Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra. They were looking around Melbourne for a new space, but the perfect site turned out to be a former pizza joint on Chapel Street.
The atmosphere inside the 60-seater is casual; exposed beams, a polished-concrete floor, an open kitchen and blond-wood furniture give the restaurant a rustic, “rambling” look. But you won’t find pizza here, or anything similar to what’s on the Leonard’s menu. At Ramblr, the menu is more “smart-casual”.
“Leonard’s was a step back, a bit of a break from fine dining, a bit of fun,” says Stanton, who has also cooked at Nieuw Amsterdam, and under Gordon Ramsay. “But now we’re ready to get back into it.”
Smaller plates include crispy pigs head fritters served with a herby French sauce and calamari “noodles” with smoked bone marrow and house-made kimchi. Larger plates include fresh pasta with mussels, chilli and roe, and roast chicken with garlic cream and grilled leeks.
The full menu is available at lunch, too, and includes sandwiches and salads.
The wine list is by Matt Skinner (wine writer and sommelier). There are safe options and some quirky drops “if you want to get weird”, says Harper. There’s a solid, mostly Scottish whisky list, and cocktails and beer (Brooklyn Lager and Sample Gold Ale are on tap).
Ramblr joins a number of interesting restaurants and bars around the intersection of Chapel Street and Commercial Road (near Chasers Nightclub, KFC and Lambs on Chapel), including Atlas Dining, The Alps Wine Shop + Bar, and the soon-to-open Wilson & Merchant.
“It makes sense to open here. Prahran Market should be surrounded by serious, produce-focused restaurants,” Stanton says.
Tue to Sun 12pm–late