Monday, 19 July 2010

Gills Diner Wine & Bread, Melbourne CBD

Tucked away in Gills Alley

The first night we arrived in Melbourne, after supper at Chilipadi, we spotted this restaurant on our way back to the hotel.
So, when we were too tired to go to Lygon Street for dinner as planned, we decided we should give this place a try (plus, it's less than 5 minutes walk from the hotel :D bonus !).

Gills Diner is tucked away behind The Commercial Bakery on Little Collins Street, you won't notice this place if you were just walking pass the street.
Obviously we know it's here because we were taking a peek snooping at The Commercial Bakery in the middle of the night lol.

Tried ringing the place before hand to make a booking but no answer, bravely we just walked over and try our luck.
Luckily, there is a table available but we have to be out by 8.15pm - no problemo ! We are all fast eaters :D
The place is paced on this Saturday night so make sure you make a booking in advance.

Dining Tables

Gills Diner is located in a what seems to be an old warehouse converted but also looked like a school hall converted , a mixture of both perhaps ?
It is all white, with rustic wooden tables and chairs, blackboards are everywhere with the food and wine menus.
The use of candelabras and big white melting candles really give this place an even more antique feel. 
I love the ambience in this restaurant, warm and old :)

Another dining area and bar style seating area ; Big rustic candelabra on our table

Beers ; Crittenden Verjuice with soda on ice

The beer selections is from the local breweries as it is their aim to promote the smaller, lesser known local producers, which is a great concept.
The beers my 2 dining companions have selected are the Beechworth Robust Porter  from Bridge Road Brewers, VIC and Mildura Sun Light from Mildura Brewery, VIC. These 2 beers can't be more different , the Robust Porter is a dark bitter beer and the Sun Light lift up to its name, it's a very light beer with a slight sweet notes.
I'm glad to see that they have a few options for the non-alcoholic drinks aside from the usual sodas.
Ordered the Crittenden Verjuice mixed with soda and ice. Of course the verjuice is from the Crittenden Estate in Victoria.
Verjuice is also made from grapes like wine, but because the grapes used are unripe, it has no alcohol content. Yay for me !

Trio of Antipasti

For entree, we ordered a Trio of Antipasti to share. You can also order these antipasto individually if you wish. We were just too indecisive so all three it is for us :)

Baguettes ; Grilled artichoke w/ salsa verde parmesan ; Salmon gravlax w/ mustard creme fraiche ; Braised kid rissole w/ kid sauce

Out of the 3 antipasti, the grilled artichoke is our favourite. It is so tender, light and refreshing. Simple with lovely flavours.
The salmon gravlax was fresh, no fishy smell whatsoever and the tangy mustard creme fraiche works really well with the oily fish. 
Now...the last one...we can't help picturing a little baby goat bleating in the background -___-;
I doubt we would actually ordered it if we read the menu carefuly before ordering the Trio of Antipasti.
The kid rissole is like a crepinette, filled with stewed kid meat and then wrapped with caul / lace fat.
The caul fat is one tough membrane to cut, we end up making a mess of this dish trying to cut it into portion LOL
The meat melts in your mouth and I soaked up the gravy that comes with it with the baguette :)

King Dory fillet, globe artichoke, confit fennel and guanciale
My friend who ordered this fish dish can't help talking about it even after we got back to Sydney. The skin is very crispy and cooked perfectly, the flesh is still soft and sweet. Everything in this dish worked really well together, the vegetables, the guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon made from pig's cheeks) and the mystery sauce.
I can see why my friend keep reminiscing about this fish dish :)

Raviolo of ham hock and veal sweetbreads with onion veloute

It is one huge raviolo sitting in a middle the sweet and creamy onion veloute. This dish is quite rich, the creaminess of the veloute and also what's inside the pasta. Salty ham hock and creamy sweetbreads (just don't think which part of the animal it's from hehehehe...)

Roast duck breast with green bean, silverbeet and cauliflower macaroni

My duck !! The roast duck with crispy skin and cooked as it should be cooked, still pink and juicy.
The waiter told me to prop the duck leg bone up to get a better shot of it (it fell during its trip from the kitchen to the table) LOL
Looks like we have another pro food blogger restaurant here at Gills Diner :D

This is one generously portioned main dish, a whole duck leg that is quite thick, resting on a bed of vegetables, plus a pot of cauliflower macaroni. I had help to finish off the pot of pasta as I couldn't get anymore in (which is very rare for me, not able to finish off my foods).
The cauliflower macaroni is as delicious as the duck, chunks of cauliflower and shredded duck meat is mixed in with cheesy white sauce and topped with crispy herbed crumbs. Eventhough my stomach is on the verge of bursting, just can't help digging into the is that good !

Salad of fennel, feta and candied walnut

We also ordered a side of salad to share, and just like the entrees and mains, the salad is as amazing.
The crisp thin slivers of fennel, the slightly spicy young rocket leaves, salty feta and sweet crunchy walnut. A mixture of textures and flavours that works so well together.
The candied walnut is a great idea, shall keep that in mind when making salads at home. 

Dining Area

As we have to vacate the table by 8.15pm (we left the restaurant at exactly 8.15pm ! Talk about being on time lol), we didn't get to try the desserts. I'm sure they are as great as the foods we had tonight.
It was one memorable and very satisfying dinner at Gills Diner Wine & Bread. 
The foods were created using interesting and not so common ingredients which made it a memorable dining experience, great ambience, and last but definitely note least...the impeccable service we received that night. 
One to put into your diary on your next trip to Melbourne. 

Gills Diner Wine & Bread
Gills Alley ( behind The Commercial Bakery on 360 Little Collins Street)
Melbourne  VIC 3000
(03) 9670 7214

Gills Diner on Urbanspoon

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