After over two years of planning, a dreamy new French restaurant and bar is coming to the CBD. Created by Al and Rebecca Yazbek from the NOMAD Group, this venue is set to transform The Cathedral Room inside the Melbourne Stock Exchange. The landmark neo-gothic building from the 1890s has been carefully restored, after over 20 years of disuse. Enter off Collins Street, travel down an internal corridor and emerge into an expansive and opulent dining room. Dubbed Reine and La Rue, this French venue will open in early August.
Reine and La Rue
The French venue fits 150 guests across three distinct spaces in the dining room. Relax on caramel leather banquettes and admire the gothic architecture, granite columns and high vaulted ceilings. Or, sit along the ten-metre cocktail and seafood marble bars, and watch your oysters shucked to order.
Jacqui Challinor, executive chef of NOMAD Group, will work alongside head chef Brendan Katich to create a menu inspired by French classics, and paired with fresh Victorian produce. Expect dishes like calamari from Lakes Entrance, cooked over charcoal and finished with cafe the Paris butter, or a dry aged O’Connor rib eye with bordelaise and a side of frites. A wood-fired hearth in the kitchen’s centre will add an extra touch of flavour. For dessert, get ready for classics served with flare, like a cheese trolley showcasing local and international offerings.
As for drinks, expect plenty of French and American wine and cocktails, to match the dining room’s New York style.
If you’d prefer to sit outside, the heated external courtyard fits 40 people. Alongside the courtyard, you’ll find La Rue, an eight-seater speakeasy. La Rue will offer the same menu as Reine, but will be available for walk-ins only.