An all-day European-style eatery across from the Botanic Gardens.
Libby Curran
Published on January 05, 2017


Part of the crew that brought you the much talked about Armadale cafe Mammoth have unveiled their latest hospitality venture, opening the doors to Gilson, an all-day diner overlooking the Royal Botanic Gardens on Domain Road.

Just as Mammoth pushed the envelope with edgy café fare (like the doughnut lobster burger), Gilson is going about things a little differently to most, with owners Loren and Jamie McBride eschewing modernity and "of the moment" in favour of something much more timeless. The couple are involved in Mammoth and Northcote's Barry, and have most recently opened pizza place Primo.

Open from 6am until midnight daily, Gilson is a riff on those deeply engrained, old-world European cafes; it's been built in the hopes of becoming a neighbourhood stalwart, right from the get-go. And, given it's slinging fresh flowers on weekends, offering take away pizzas, and hosting aperitivo sessions in the afternoons, there's little doubt Gilson will win over its South Yarra locals pretty darn quickly.

A classic bistro menu — put together by chefs Emma Jeffrey and Pippa McLeod — has been crafted around local, seasonal produce, and the star of the show, Gilson's custom-built wood oven. This beaut works its own magic on the masses, turning out creations like wood-fire pizzas, and peach tarte Tatin. A brunch menu is also available until 3pm before the evening offering kicks in, which includes the aforementioned pizzas as well as a selection of sandwiches, small plates and dishes like spaghetti and meatballs and lamb osso bucco.

Meanwhile, the enduring fit-out comes courtesy of Projects of Imagination, who've previously left their stylish mark on such foodie faves as Chin Chin and Supernormal. With their prime location across from the gardens, it's a prime posi to sit on the sidewalk with a spritz this summer.

Images: Emily Weaving.


Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x