You know that feeling when you’ve saved a restaurant in your head for a special occasion, and when that day comes, it’s all you could think of all day. And then the moment you step inside, everything just kind of falls into place. As cheesy and rom-com as it sounds, that’s how I felt on the night I had dinner at Embla.

Embla has been on my radar for a few years now, being a wine bar that manages to also hold a reputable menu. When deciding it was time to pay it a visit at last, I ensured that we arrived just before 6pm, and snatched up a couple of the remaining kitchen bar seats, which actually turned out to be the best seats in the house.

Seeded Sourdough, White Soy Cream – $5.00

Although the bread wasn’t complementary, it was well worth the affordable price tag, and really set the tone for the night – simple, sophisticated, understated, without being pretentious.

Seeded Sourdough, White Soy Cream – $5.00

The sourdough was warm and chewy, but the true delight was the white soy cream. Airy light and full of umami, you could smother an obnoxious amount of it onto the bread and watch as it melts away, before savouring the umami with every bite.

Sea Bream, Green Olive, Finger Lime, Horseradish – $18.00
Sea Bream, Green Olive, Finger Lime, Horseradish – $18.00

The almost transparent dices of sea bream was place in a perfect disc on top of a bed of green olive, finger lime and horseradish, and it was light yet decadent. The freshness of the fish was complement by the surprising pops of acidity of the lime and brininess of the olive, all rounded off with the horseradish cream.

Spring Cabbage, Elderflower Hollandaise – $15.00
Spring Cabbage, Elderflower Hollandaise – $15.00

The kitchen counter seats ensured that we saw the full preparation process of each dish, and watching the chef slather the spring cabbage with the elderflower hollandaise was all that was needed to convince me to order the dish myself.

Spring Cabbage, Elderflower Hollandaise – $15.00

The smokiness of the cabbage, coupled with its natural sweetness, as well as the nuttiness of the hollandaise, made this one of my vegetarian dishes to date.

Lamb Neck, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovy – $32.00

The heavy duty main that we shared next was the lamb neck. The lamb was fork-tender, and the accompany anchovy cream was a surprising pairing, yet the saltiness really brought out the flavour of the lamb. There was also a crunchy herb mix on top of the lamb that I couldn’t get enough of adding an additional texture to the plate.

Treacle Tart, Ginger Ice Cream – $15.00

Thank god we still left enough room for dessert, as that meant we could try the treacle tart. Although I’ve seen it in Harry Potter a million times, this was the first time I’d actually seen it on a menu. The rich combination of biscuit and golden syrup meant that the seemingly small piece of treacle tart was more than enough for sharing between two. The ginger ice cream brought a good level of spice to counteract the tart’s sweetness.

Embla was everything I wanted and more. From the unique food offerings, the relaxing atmosphere to the attentive but not intruding service, it really is as great as they say. The only regret I have is not visiting sooner, and I’ve already got my next visit in sight, needing to try the chickpea pancake as well as the Sunday lunch menu. You know, for research purposes.

How to get here:
Embla is located on Russel Street, catch any tram from the Swanston Street side of Melbourne Central and get off at Bourke Street/Swanston Street, and the restaurant is five minutes walk away.

Embla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cumulus Inc

1Cumulus Inc needs no introduction, but I’ll give you one anyway. One of the busiest restaurants on Flinders Lane, Andrew McConnell’s creation takes no bookings, which means the small space is bustling all night long, and if you get there past 6pm, prepare to wait out in the cold.2If you do manage to grab yourself a table however, two types of bread will be placed in front of you after you have placed your order, with some freshly churned butter on the side.


Originale – $11.00

Because this was a celebratory dinner, I started off the night with a cocktail. The originale was quite simple in flavour, although the mint was quite refreshing.


Kitchen Charcuterie Selection – $29.00

While sipping on the cocktail, we nibbled on some high quality charcuterie. Our waitress did not go through all of the items on the plate, but I remember loving the small pieces of some sort of salami, it had a very strong umami flavour.

6The pickled chillies were both spicy and sour, and was a nice palate cleanser between tasting the various types of cold cuts.


Asparagus and Olives

I can’t seem to find this on the menu, but from memory, it was a light and refreshing salad, just what we needed to tone down the roasted lamb shoulder.


Whole Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder To Share – $73.00

Onto the star of the night, a visit to Cumulus Inc is not complete without ordering the roast lamb shoulder. They weren’t kidding when they said the lamb shoulder was to share, thank God there were four of us!

9The lamb were slow roasted to perfection, while still pink inside. The skin was crispy, and the jus was lovely. Although a tad more seasoning would’ve helped, it already left us feeling contempt with our meal.


Madeleine Filled with Lemon Curd – $2.50 each

But hey, why stop there? For dessert, we got the simple yet stunning freshly baked madeleines. The madeleines were soft and spongey, and the lemon curd added a touch of freshness.1213

Due to the no booking policy and the relatively small space, you definitely wanna rock up before 6 to secure a table, otherwise, a wait is to be expected.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cumulus Inc, and am already eyeing a number of the smaller dishes to share on my next visit!

How to get there:
Cumulus Inc is located on Flinders Lane, five minutes walk from Parliament station.

Cumulus Inc. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato