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 has transformed 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 & La Rue, this French venue will open on Tuesday August 1. Reservations are now open.
Reine & 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, is working 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. For something refreshing, opt for the ruby grapefruit, bay leaf and elderflower dessert.
As for drinks, expect plenty of French and American wine and cocktails, to match the dining room’s New York style. Expect classics like Manhattans and martinis.
Meanwhile, if you’re after something more intimate, pop into La Rue for snacks and a drink. This eight-seater speakeasy is set further away, alongside the external courtyard, and is available for walk-ins only. The sleek space features a premium wine vault, where you’ll find the perfect drink to unwind.
Outside, there’s a heated external courtyard off the main dining room that fits 40 guests.
Bookings are available now. Reine & La Rue is open from Tuesday to Saturday.