Friday lunch or Saturday dinner? Surely these are the most atmospheric times to dine, but often for different reasons. Today I get to enjoy the intimate side of Friday lunch with my wife, rather than in connection with my work.
There are plenty of power lunches going on mind you. Though we are seated on a table of two above the majority of business lunches. Here we have a view of the good looking dining room that is full of architectural character in Cavendish House.
Gimlet has pedigree. The latest and greatest by Andrew McConnell, there is no doubt it has the bones to succeed. It’s down the road from Supernormal on the corner of Flinders Lane and Russell; it already has a charismatic feel; and it walks the difficult tightrope between intimacy, and a place to be seen.
Before I write about the high quality coming out of the kitchen, and also the bar, I need to point out that Gimlet is not at its peak from a service perspective. Again, it has the makings, but the execution is not quite there yet. There are some noticeable times where the floor is trying to communicate covertly, but is tripping up. A knowing of what to do, but not necessarily how to do it; a nervousness.
Not that service took anything away from our terrific lunch, playing high stakes, and placing our main bet on a half lobster, and a bottle of chardonnay from Burgundy. More of that a little later.
As we finished our Coutier champagne to celebrate being out for a Friday date, and 28 days of double doughnuts, we were presented with our first entree. We began with “seafood salad” which appealed to us, especially after learning it consisted of a Tiger prawn, pippies, and mussels. Those elements are delicious, but the peeled cherry tomatoes, heavy on flavour, are the other half of the equation, along with succulents that do a dual role of enhancing this dish, which is dressed beautifully.
The gnocco fritto is superb too. Crisp pockets topped with bresaola, that already had us thinking about the next time we could drop by on the bar for a few snacks and cocktails. At this stage the charred romaine heart side came out.
It was a completely innocent mistake, but we had asked what would go well with the lobster as a side and this was the recommendation, which was a great suggestion, especially with the salty guanciale, and anchovy dressing. However, because it came out with entrees, the lobster wasn’t called away as a main and we waited for quite a while until our waitperson realised. Though, nothing in the world was wrong when the half Southern rock lobster landed on our table.
The selling point as a very expensive main to share was the saffron rice that surrounds and adds flavour to the wood roasted king of seafood. As a combination, the tomatoey saffron rice, along with the indulgent juicy lobster meat, is utterly gorgeous. Add in a 2015 Colin-Morey Bourgogne chardonnay and you have the Friday lunch dreams are made of.
As we reflected on our delicious savoury courses, we had some room for a shared dessert. The “Panettone, zabaglione, Christmas spices and grappa” seemed to jump off the menu as we enter the Christmas period. Once we had our first taste of the thick zabaglione and rich panettone we couldn’t stop until it was but a memory. Absolutely delicious.
Catherine’s mint tea, and my double espresso, were also good quality as you’d expect, but the extended time they took post dessert to hit the table was again a sign that there is some room to improve. It honestly didn’t matter because I’m already thinking about the next opportunity to get back to Gimlet. It was that great.