Dine with Dari | Copycat

Nanas and flicks. That’s what comes to mind when you talk about Gordon street Elsternwick.  Known fondly by many for the Classic cinema that’s been around for decades, showcasing the latest movies and film festivals, this quiet neighbourhood location tends to skip the gregarious gen Y and attract an older crowd. The next door eatery chopped and changed hands a few times, until someone from the younger Gen finally decided to put a ring on it, and create Copycat.

Coming from a hospo background, when asked about the name these cool cats ‘copied’ a bit from here and there to create their own epic adventure of a vibey bar, moody restaurant and sensational food and drinks to match.

Sprawled out onto the footpath, tables flow on to the outdoor terrace. You can hear incessant chatter, clink some dangerously smooth cocktails and soak up the afternoon sun well into a summer evening.

Inside it’s a different feel of a dark lit room. High ceilings and exposed brick, marble tables and drop down lights. Its a bit posh, very romantic and rather sophisticated, yet relaxed enough to wear your offensively high heels and cheeky smile.

As for the food, if you had to pinpoint a cuisine, it would probably be Mediterranean, ‘simpler just to say’ – quality food, done well.

To start, anyone who had dreams of a carb free diet to shed those extra Covid kilos’ will have them shattered when the flatbread arrives. This fluffy, warm sausage of dough is sprinkled with a generous za’atar pinch and sits next to a creamy white bean skordalia. Its like eating a puffy cloud dipped into heaven. Heirloom tomato salad is a colourful spectacle on a plate. Sweet and savoury flavours of cool refreshing watermelon and salty dehydrated olives are balanced together with shavings of creamy white shanklish (Although, whilst green tomatoes look so plump and pretty, they are a little bland in flavour). The stracciatella (described as the ‘really good bits inside buratta‘) may look a bit slip slop slap, but the taste of each component on the plate of robust caponata, crunchy pine nuts and luscious cheese are lipsuckingly good. On point in both aesthetics and taste is the octopus. Genty grilled tenderloins of the crustacean highlight their sweet notes and sit warmly on a Romesco sauce, pleasantly powerful without overpowering.

And then comes the Bombe. Much like the movies next door, their Bombe Alaska may be the climax of the show. With so much complexity of macadamia parfait, chocolate brownie and a sticky toffee marshmallow outer, this is a must have, must see – tell all your mates, and go back again. Bit like an Oscar award winner.
Bar wise, the space is inspiring with each beverage excellently executed with precision and finesse. And the wine, while not an overly large selection, has been cleverly crafted to suit its audience with some impressive rarely sourced standouts.

Bottom Line. If you once thought Elsternwick was for just for nannas and movies, now Copycat has arrived, think again.

39B Gordon Street, Elsternwick VIC 3185

Image credits: Parker Blain

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