Reine - French Brasserie

Reine - French Brasserie

Reine opens in August 2023.

The 150-seat restaurant will inhabit the elaborate Cathedral Room, emblematic of Melbourne's 19th-century gold-fuelled wealth and prestige.

Hidden for 20 years, one of Melbourne's grandest rooms will become Reine brasserie from the Nomad team

The former stock exchange's ornate Cathedral Room is being transformed into a French restaurant with an eight-seat secret bar. Plus coming soon in the same complex: a "five-star dive bar" by Maurice Terzini.

The two-city team that brought Nomad restaurants to Melbourne and Sydney is writing a new chapter in the history of Marvellous Melbourne, opening French brasserie Reine in the iconic 1891 gothic revival building at 380 Collins Street.

When the Nomad team's project opens in August, the 150-seat restaurant will inhabit the elaborate Cathedral Room, emblematic of Melbourne's 19th-century gold-fuelled wealth and prestige.

Heart-stoppingly grand, the site was once the main trading floor of the Melbourne Stock Exchange. In disrepair after lying unused for the past 20 years, its restoration has been a key component of the Queen & Collins development.

"It's been very challenging to design for this heritage space because we can't touch the [building] envelope at all," says Nomad co-owner Rebecca Yazbek. "I'm thinking of what we're doing as inserting a cocoon that showcases the history and the grandeur but also wraps the diner.

"Melbourne is rightly enamoured of its history - you didn't demolish it all as Sydney did - and we hope we are adding a layer of enjoyment to this significant site so people can enjoy the detail of the space."

Acoustics have been a particular challenge: the gothic revival interior features limestone walls, mosaic tiling, granite columns and stone vaulted ceilings. They've used sound-dampening timber to wrap the space and raise flooring.

Unlike Nomad in Flinders Lane, Reine's kitchen will be tucked away. "It's a bit old-school: we're having an elegant dining room and the duck legs will be paddling away unseen," says Yazbek. "We want to bring fun and conviviality, too."

Also hidden will be La Rue, a secret eight-seat bar featuring black-stained timber joinery, a black terrazzo floor and wine cellar.

Executive chef Jacqueline Challinor is relishing the menu possibilities, especially of a wood-fired hearth twice as big as the one she's using at Nomad.

"It's pretty mind-blowing to walk in and imagine what we will be creating," she says. "The menu will draw on those French classics we know and love, but I'm aiming for elegant, pared back, clean and sharp, with a menu that works for sharing but also for those who want their own plate of food."

Challinor plans to spend a week driving around the Mornington Peninsula connecting with local suppliers. "I want to focus on great Victorian producers," she says.

A 10-metre bar will be reserved for walk-ins and there are eight spots at a dedicated oyster bar, where chefs will shuck to order.

The restaurant theatre will extend to a cheese trolley and occasional tricks at the table. "This dining room is going to demand a bit of a show," says Challinor. "Perhaps we'll do a beautifully grilled whole fish served with tableside flair."

Desserts will be classic. "There's something to be said for a beautifully executed creme brulee," says Challinor. "We can make it all about the details and the art form."

Challinor will work on the menu with head chef Brendan Katich, currently at Nomad Melbourne. Group wine director Ged Bellis is working on a list that will lean French and American. "We will have the largest and most exclusive American wine list in the country," he says.

Reine and La Rue will open at 380 Collins Street, Melbourne, in August.

In the same complex, and also slated for a winter opening, is Purple Pit, a bar from Icebergs' Maurice Terzini and drinks doyen Joe Jones. The pair worked together in 2022 to bring the short-lived Cucina Povera to life.

"It will be a five-star dive bar where the inspiration of elegant hotel bars is deconstructed yet maintained by the drinks, art, food and service," says Terzini.

Purple Pit will be in the basement under the ANZ Bank at 388 Collins Street, part of the same Queen & Collins development.

Review by Dani Valent -
May 9, 2023

❊ Address ❊

 ℅ Naarm
 ⊜  380 Collins Street Melbourne  View Map
380 Collins StreetMelbourneVictoria

❊ Web Links ❊

Reine - French Brasserie 

Disclaimer: Check with the venue (web links) before making plans, travelling or buying tickets.

Accessibility: Contact the venue for accessibility information.

Update Page

Reine - French Brasserie