Restaurant openings defy recession

Posted by Isobel Drake on 12th May 2009

Economic conditions remain less than ideal for restaurant launches but this hasn’t stopped a number of new offerings entering the market this year.

Openings of hyped restaurants like Nuevo 37, MoMo and Rockpool Bar & Grill highlight that many are still prepared to take a chance on the Australian consumer, despite a 12% fall in industry profits last year.

Another newcomer to the dining scene is Embrasse, a restaurant opened by Nicolas & Tara Poelaert, who were determined not to let economic conditions quell their dream. Nicolas, an internationally awarded head chef who has worked beside some of the world’s best, is looking forward to developing a business from scratch.

The couple took over the premises vacated by Andrew McConnell’s Three, One, Two in Carlton and bravely set about defying the economic gloom. Serving up a modern French cuisine that draws inspiration from childhood dishes and using traditional and non-traditional French techniques, Embrasse is hoping their innovative menu and use of local produce – including their own herb garden – will resonate with customers.

Embrasse restaurant

“Imagine the seasons expressing themselves via food including herbs, flowers, grains, cereals, oats and beans,” Nicolas, ex Circa, Vue de Monde and Michel et Sebastien Bras – a three michelin starred restaurant in France, said. “Vegetables will play an integral role in Embrasse’s menu and we have created dishes unlike any other restaurant in Melbourne currently.”

The restaurant is an embodiment of the times with sustainability, health and simplicity hallmarks of the business. With the team taking great pleasure in producing particular foods themselves, they undertook a promise that while preparing the restaurant’s meals they would be especially attentive to their surrounds.

“Embrasse’s cuisine has been created with purity and simplicity in mind, however the inclusion of some more modern day techniques used in the kitchen is to showcase the true flavours and textures of all ingredients,” Poelaert explained.

And so far the dream of success remains on track with business strong since opening in February, highlighting that a focus on the basics will serve restaurants well no matter how turbulent the economy.