Dine with Dari | Gimlet

The gimlet at gimlet. So cliche, yet hands down possibly one of the best Melbourne experiences the city has to offer, (and given we’ve been locked down for so long, that’s a mighty big call). 

The unfortunate part is, you may have had to book for this experience practically before the pandemic began, as the wait list for a table is an eternity (hot tip, be spontaneous and just rock up – you just might be lucky with a VIP seat at the bar). 

Wait or not, it’s totally utterly worth it. Walk into Cavendish house into a grand open ballroom with lavish chandeliers, and pristinely set tables surrounding a marble bar and one simply can’t help but shimmer with excitement. Its glamour, sophistication and timelessness rolled into one. 

The dining room itself is regal, yet wholesome. It has a mixed vibe of posh ‘Bridgeton’ meets cheeky Sex in the City, where you’d happily stretch out a long lunch, pop in for a quick appetiff or finish your evening with a cocktail. As grand as it is, it’s the small touches that impress. Gently warm and knowledgeable service, refined glassware, and subtly expensive artwork that you notice without it intimidating. Day or night, the place shines. 

Moving onto what makes it so wonderful. A balanced menu that Mr McConnell designed is short, seemingly simple but classic. Start with their tuna, anchovy pickled rock sapphire. Pretty, purple and plush this slightly seared ocean swimmer is light and with lovely maritime notes. The Venus clams, king prawn and mussels arrive in a colourful array with a soft buttery boyant gnocchi sardi. Dry aged duck breast arrives elegantly sliced with a gorgeous robust jus. The bold aromatic citrus flavours work magically with vibrant blood orange and fennel. A nourishing side of charred spring bean salad has a roast hazelnut crunch and refreshing mint touch. 

Wine is perplexing and exciting. A global leather-bound atlas filled with a variety of local and international bottles suffice to suit mix of price point and palate. You’ll leave gleaming and yearning to return. 

Bottom line: Things have finally opened up in Melbourne and life just got exciting again. Gimlet in our city makes it just that little bit sweeter. 

33 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

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