The biggest new restaurant opening offers French-accented food with a side of opulence.

Melbourne isn’t short of restaurants with great food, gracious service and a convivial vibe but few are as strikingly beautiful as Reine & La Rue, the newest offering from the Nomad Group.

“The most iconic spot to sit is over the original prismatic floor in the centre of the dining room,” says the group’s co-founder Rebecca Yazbek of the opulent space inside the 1890s-era former Melbourne Stock Exchange on Collins Street. “Actually,” she adds, switching gears, “sitting at the red marble bar watching the bartenders shake cocktails under custom-made Henry Wilson lights with the gorgeous up-lit limestone wall behind them… that’s my kind of jam.”

No matter where you end up, tear your gaze from architecture to plate and find French classics conjured from mostly Victorian produce by executive chef Jacqui Challinor and head chef Brendan Katich (“With the bigger flavours Nomad is known for,” says Yazbek). That translates to dishes such as charcoal-cooked Lake Entrance calamari with café de Paris butter and dry-aged O’Connor rib eye with a side of frites. It would be remiss not to raise a glass to the sophisticated setting with a Martini or Manhattan, either inside Reine restaurant or at the adjoining eight-seater speakeasy-style La Rue wine bar.

At its core, Reine & La Rue is as much an experience as somewhere to eat and a monument to the Nomad team’s commitment to high-class hospitality. “I had a vision for this place when we signed onto it,” says Yazbek, “but everyone’s layers of expertise on top is what makes for a truly beautiful restaurant.”

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SEE ALSO: 10 Fun Things to Do in Melbourne

Image credit: Petrina Tinslay

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