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Gimlet at Cavendish House

Andrew McConnell's elegant new cocktail bar and European bistro serves up caviar, champagne and truffles aplenty.
By Samantha Teague
December 01, 2020
By Samantha Teague
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 IncCutler & CoSupernormal 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 AlexandriaCharlie 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.

Sharyn Cairns

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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