Restaurants and cafes aren’t opening yet, so we checked in with Dave Verheul from Embla and Lesa in the CBD to see how he’s doing and where he’s been ordering…
1. I realise you closed Lesa first, but how long did it take for you to consider Embla could offer any kind of takeaway or delivery offering?
To be honest it took us a couple of weeks to pivot and develop what our offering was to be. Everything was moving so quickly at the beginning of this, there was so much indecision and conflicting messaging regarding our industry. We really didn’t know if we would even be able to provide a takeaway service the next day let alone the following week. So much of what Embla is, is about the whole experience, and for me that didn’t translate into a takeaway version of our menu dishes. We settled on a whole dinner package as a sort of date night for home, one where you don’t have to do all of the cooking and is close to what we do here in the restaurant.
2. How do you envisage the hospitality industry will come back from this? What will it look like?
I am very optimistic about what our industry could look like on the other side of this. In many ways it is a great opportunity for us to take stock of the rights and wrongs, to reset and to move forward in a direction that promotes personal and environmental sustainability, localised supply chains and a true reflection of the cost of what it takes to put the plate on the table in front of you.
3. Have you tried any takeaways yet from other restaurants, any recommendations?
I’ve had great meals from Lee Ho Fook, Amaru and Tipo. It has been amazing to see everyone moving so quickly to offer the things we love in a different format.
It’s nice not having to decide what to have for dinner, they just need to find a way of coming and doing the dishes afterwards.
Pic: Kristoffer Paulssen
Interview: May 11
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