The World Loves Melbourne Blog
Celebrating Melbourne one of the greatest food, fashion and cultural cities in the world.
Gill's Diner - Classico!
French/Italian one hatted (The Age Good Food Guide) restaurant tucked away in laneway (in fact Gill’s alley) off Little Collins St. This place screams “nostalgia”! I stumbled across Gill’s Diner after dropping my family at the airport for their Sydney family catch up - and needed a hearty breakfast early in the morning.
Coming here felt like a trip back in time to my 60s childhood (showing my age) to large spacious diner with white walls, high ceilings, large fans on the walls and retro everything. Reminded me of some eateries in Adelaide in the 60s including Adelaide Oval and Memorial Drive where my Dad played A grade tennis forever. It also reeks of my years in Grammar School halls and buildings. Hope I’m not late for the bell!
Right away I discerned that this was probably an old garage (having purchased a house with a similar theme). You can see the old style roll a door garage entrance from the inside of the restaurant before the impressive new doors were put in place. Or was it an old warehouse?
Not quite an open kitchen but you can see the kitchen behind the cute old style windows. I managed to see one of the chefs making pasta ready for a big day. Also love the lamps hanging down from the ceiling and the wooden square tables and simple old school wooden chairs. The tiles also look retro from a bygone era. A large old candelabra perched on one of the tables was a quirky reminder of my days served as an altar boy. To complete the diner look, the cutlery is kept in silver jars on the tables. The floors are unpolished concrete. Newspapers on a table to read with breakfast while down below and next door is the Commercial Bakery. There are only a few pictures on the walls. This place has kind of a minimalist look.
Of course the menu is unmistakably European. Loved seeing the words “terrine” “croquettes” and “rabbit” on the menu. I started my acquaintance with Gill’s Diner with breakfast. The breakfast menu is extensive with usual suspects of porridge and eggs on sour dough (with optional extras), and fruit toast to name a few. I was recommended the Baked Beans with Taleggio (cheese) with sour dough bread and butter. Taleggio is a washed rind and smear-ripened Italian cheese, in vogue before the 10th Century in the caves of Val Taleggio and produced every autumn and winter when cows are tired! Now in vogue at Gill’s Diner!
This was a hearty and impressive breakfast with rich tomato sauce and well cooked quality beans in a bowl and the sour dough on the side. The taleggio cheese was lobbed in the middle of the beans and was suitably melted into the dish. Yum! Even the bread was impressive (and is baked on the premises). Actually so was the butter – preferred to spoon the beans onto my sourdough but as the butter was so good I couldn’t ignore spreading it on my bread first! A hearty rustic breakfast! The coffee was excellent and a strong blend.
The menu is inscribed in chalk on at least 8 blackboards – once again adding to the nostalgic diner (and schooldays) feel. Loved the ambience with soft jazz playing through the speakers. Charm exudes through simplicity.
I’m looking forward to returning for a chicken and leek pie with chips and salad or terrine for lunch, and something even more spectacular for dinner!
Gill’s Diner, 360 Little Collins St, CBD – French/Italian - Food 9.5, Coffee 9, Ambience 9