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FOOD & DRINK

Gimlet at Cavendish House Is Andrew McConnell's Elegant New Cocktail Bar and Bistro

Caviar, champagne and truffles aplenty are on the menu at this European bistro inside a 1920s CBD building.
By Samantha Teague and Libby Curran
June 23, 2020
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Gimlet at Cavendish House Is Andrew McConnell's Elegant New Cocktail Bar and Bistro

Caviar, champagne and truffles aplenty are on the menu at this European bistro inside a 1920s CBD building.
By Samantha Teague and Libby Curran
June 23, 2020
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When it comes to creating smash-hit venues, legendary chef Andrew McConnell knows what's what. He's the mind behind favourites like Cumulus IncCutler & CoSupernormal and Marion, to name a few. And now, Melbourne is about to score another, with McConnell opening a new cocktail bar and restaurant in the 1920s heritage Cavendish House building at 33 Russell Street in the CBD this July. It'll be his first new project in five years.

Sydney-based architecture and design studio Acme is heading up the build, which sees this historic building filled black and gold marble bars, leather booths, geometric tiles and honeycomb chandeliers inspired by famed Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. Considering the studio is responsible for highly Instagrammed venues like The Grounds Of AlexandriaCharlie Parker's and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, you can expect it to be very impressive.

Split into four spaces — a cocktail bar, an elegant clothed-table restaurant on the upper level, a 12-person private dining area and a more casual space on the lower level — the restaurant feels very elegant French bistro. And the food echoes this.

Designed by Andrew McConnell together with Head Chef Allan Doert Eccles (Cutler & Co), the menu makes its way from escargot and and crab toast with sea urchin through to dry-aged duck cooked in a wood oven. But, it's certainly not all French. Flounder comes with pil-pil (a boldly flavoured Basque sauce), potatoes are roasted with taleggio and dessert includes gelati. Eccles says the food is "leaning on Europe and America, a bit of old world mixed with new world sensibility" — and, like the space, it's also a little bit indulgent. Expect caviar, champagne and truffles aplenty.

Sharyn Cairns

To start, Gimlet is opening for a series of preview events from June 30, with dinner on offer first, followed by lunch from July 3. But, from July 14, the team will be plating up food, pouring wine and playing sauve tunes from midday every weekday, and from 9am for brunch on weekends

The building — which was previously a fancy flagship for Bang & Olufsen — is located on the corner of Flinders Lane and Russell Street, only a short walk from McConnell's Supernormal and in the middle of the Flinders Lane dining action.

Gimlet at Cavendish House is opening at 33 Russell Street, Melbourne from July 14. It will also be open for a series of preview events, with dinner ($85 set menu) from Tuesday–Sunday from Tuesday, June 30 and lunch ($70 menu) from Friday–Sunday from Friday, July 3. To book, call (03) 9277 9777. 

Images: Sharyn Cairns

Published on June 23, 2020 by Samantha Teague

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