Gimlet at Cavendish House
Andrew McConnell's elegant new cocktail bar and European bistro serves up caviar, champagne and truffles aplenty.
When it comes to creating smash-hit venues, legendary chef Andrew McConnell knows what's what. He's the mind behind favourites like Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Supernormal and Marion, to name a few. In July, Melbourne scored another McConnell original when he opened Gimlet — a cocktail bar and restaurant in the CBD's 1920s heritage building Cavendish House.
Sydney-based architecture and design studio Acme (The Grounds Of Alexandria, Charlie Parker's and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel) is behind the fit-out, which sees this historic building filled with black and gold marble bars, leather booths, geometric tiles and honeycomb chandeliers inspired by famed Italian architect Carlo Scarpa.
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 like a very elegant French bistro. And the food echoes this.
Designed by Andrew McConnell and 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.
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.
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