L-R Shannon Martinez and Ian Curley will head up menu development at Lona Misa.

Vegan chef and author, Shannon Martinez will team up with experienced global chef, Ian Curley, to open a vegetarian and vegan restaurant as the flagship dining outlet at Ovolo South Yarra in Melbourne, on track to open in April.

The restaurant, dubbed ‘Lona Misa’ as a play on words to the iconic Leonardo Da Vinci painting, will see Martinez and Curley take on the roles of Creative Culinary Partners. Lona Misa will be a lunch and dinner venue open daily, with 90 seats and a menu featuring share plates with seasonal fresh produce and reflecting Martinez’s Latin heritage.

Aimed at doing things differently, the restaurant says diners will enjoy a “rebellious renaissance from root to stem.” The new eatery builds on Ovolo Group’s pledge from last year to migrate all of its restaurants to vegetarian-only menus as part of its ‘Year of the Veg’ initiative.

Ovolo South Yarra will feature 123 rooms and is due to open in early 2021.

“Shannon is a real pioneer for plant-based dining,” said Curley.

“For what she brings to the table, taking on some of Australia’s most unconvinced carnivorous chefs, she has set a foundation for vegetarian and plant-based dining to be taken seriously.”

Together, Martinez and Curley will curate menus for both the restaurant and share plates available from the bar, with local farmers and producers to be heavily consulted to ensure fresh ingredients are sourced and supplied. A menu of colourful cocktails, house sodas and niche wines with a focus on natural, organic and carbon neutral will be selected for the drinks menu.

The Ovolo brand is already well versed in fine vegetarian and vegan dining.

“It’s funny, I’ve known Curley a long time, and we’ve both always refused to come across the river,” said Martinez.

“Melbourne hospitality will get what I mean when I say he is 100% southside, I’m 100% northside. Finally, the meeting of North and South – it’s going to be a something else, a collaboration Melbourne will love.”