East Melbourne can be a little unassuming, so we bet you didn't know that, tucked alongside Fitzroy Gardens is GG: home to plentiful European fare and meals best shared. The restaurant and bar is a homage to everything Euro, from the aperitifs to the wine list to the many, many dishes.
With so much on offer, taking on the tasting menu ($85 per person) may be a wise choice, if not just to eradicate all decision making. It may include entrees such as the boneless chicken wings — with the ultimate flavour combination of rooftop honey, apple gel and hazelnut dukkah — or the seasonal crab beignets, which are a summery treat with sesame, coconut and grapefruit. The watermelon with Yarra Valley feta was, while refreshing, slightly less exciting than the other starter dishes — and from now on we only want to drink cauliflower soup from shot glasses.
However, second course was probably our favourite of the night, where we had juicy pork belly and a confit duck leg with creamed spinach, braised figs, honey and sichuan glaze ($39.90). Hearty without being heavy, this was a real treat. The rotating rotisserie was spinning lamb on our visit. Served with hand-cut chips, green beans and grain salad with farro, quinoa, freekeh, seeds, nuts, pomegranate, the meat was succulent and certainly a generous serve. If we're going to nit-pick, the chips could have been a little crispier.
This was the point in the evening where we could have happily called it a night, as the dishes were so varied, plentiful and filling (take note to arrive hungry). Thankfully the staff were attentive and did not rush us between courses, so we had a chance to sip our Toolangi Pinot Noir ($13 glass)and regain our momentum.
Despite being gleefully full to the brim, we weren't going to pass up the opportunity to sample their desserts. Their coconut parfait is one of the most gorgeous desserts we've seen for a while; coconut parfait was covered in passionfruit and beautifully presented with raspberry meringue, fresh raspberries, pineapple and a zingy passionfruit curd. It's also the first time we've tried a rhubarb crème brulee, which was served with compressed apple, oat crumble, and the most amazing cinnamon ice cream to bring it all together (both $16.90).
Civilised yet without pretension, the East Melbourne restaurant an ideal spot for a business lunch or dinner with a big group. The menu has something for everyone, the portions certainly aren't skimping, and the service is helpful without being intrusive. A little bit playful and a little bit fancy, GG is an excellent crowd pleaser.