312 Drummond Street, Carlton
We broke the news in our November issue that celebrated Wellington operator, Christian McCabe, was setting up shop in Melbourne. His new venue, The Town Mouse, opened just before Easter in Carlton, on the old Embrasse site.
McCabe has teamed up with his sister, Amber McCabe (Longrain) and Jay Comesky of Melbourne’s St Ali to run the front of house.
For an operator like McCabe with strong food interests it’s no surprise he chose to open a restaurant, but the drinks list is as equally impressive as the food from fellow Kiwi chef, Dave Verheul, and deserves equal billing. The whites skew towards clean, crisp varieties that partner well with food — particularly the raw dishes, like oysters served with chardonnay vinegar sorbet and lemon, and bonito with gin botanicals — and reads like a tasty tutorial of muscadets, vermentinos, chenin blancs and Rieslings.
The distinctly pan-European feel of the wine list is complimented by choice Australian drops, no doubt inspired by McCabe’s recent European sojourn which saw him travelling the continent for the year previous to settling in Melbourne. There’s only two New Zealand drops to speak of, so we have to assume he enjoyed his European adventures!