This Anzac Day I will be heading to the MCG with Meat-and-Three-Veg for the annual Collingwood v Essendon match. My religion errs more towards food than football but this MTV is a
mad passionate Essendon supporter so this is the one match we always go to. At least now I know with the opening of GG just across from the MCG in East Melbourne my post match meal doesn’t have to be a pie.
I was invited to try out dinner at GG last week. The place is so new that the kitchen gleams and you feel that you are the first person sitting in the sculptured wooden chairs. No expense has been spared in the design of the place which drips money from the acres of polished wood to the chocolate box tones of burgundy and bronze employed inside. The restaurant also has some top talent on board in head chef Paul Dunlop, formerly of St Katherine’s, Press Club and Bistro Thierry. Given the chance to cook his own food Dunlop has opted for a European style dishes with an emphasis on simple, moreish food.
The menu is divided into small, medium and large dishes. The small dishes are designed to share and are tapas sized portions like crunchy crumbed chicken wings ($9.90) and slices of grilled chorizo ($9.90) served with grapes for some sweetness to balance the salty sausage. My favourite were the crunchy arancini ($6.90) with a golden tan from the deep fat fryer.
Fried calamari ($22.90 for medium but I had a smaller serve) had a nice lemon zing to it but was soft and flaccid where it should have been crispy. Where Dunlop really excels is in slow cooking meat to the point of disintegration. The lamb neck teamed with a puree of shallots and black garlic ($37.90) was sticky and caramelised to a toffee like state.
But for seriously flavoursome meat the place to turn is the rotisserie at the centre of GG’s kitchen. The meat that comes off it is sensational. The meat on offer changes depending on the night but we tried the chicken ($25) which tasted of charcoal and smokiness with crisp edges and juicy flesh. It’s a worthy rival to the much praised rotisserie chicken at PM24.
To accompany the chicken we had crunchy potatoes and a pumpkin salad ($8) made with slow roasted, slightly charred wedges of soft pumpkin, drizzled with honey for sweetness.
Dessert was not quite as assured as the savoury part of the meal at GG. I tried a sample of a few desserts on the dessert plate and while the plate looked sensational some desserts delivered more than others in terms of flavour. The cannelloni with a caramel sauce was fabulous with its combination of salty and sweet but the tiramisu ($16.50) was too heavy handed on the coffee leaving a lingering bitterness.
All the early indicators at GG point to a restaurant with passion and commitment. Serious investment has been made here and it shows in the slick fitout and brilliant slow cooked meats. Whatever happens on Anzac day at least I know where I can drown my sorrows or celebrate in style.
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Gourmet Chick was invited to review GG.
Details: GG, 150 Clarendon street, East Melbourne 3002 (Ph 03 8415 0411) Open Mon -Fri 11am – late, Sat-Sun 7am-late.
Damage: Pricey. But on this occasion I did not pay.