Gimlet at Cavendish House
Andrew McConnell's elegant cocktail bar and European bistro serves up caviar, champagne and truffles aplenty.
December 01, 2020
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 2020, 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 oysters and yellowfin tuna crudo through to dry-aged duck with fennel and pickled walnut, plus wood-roasted rock lobster with a bisque sauce. But it's certainly not all French. Quail is teamed with jamon, witlof and blackberry, there's a gnocco fritto featuring bresaola and parmesan, and you'll spy gelati on the dessert list. 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.
Gimlet has even scored itself international acclaim, having taken out number 84 spot in the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards longlist for 2022 — the only Aussie to place in the lineup.
Updated September 9, 2022