Gorski & Jones
304 Smith Street,
(03) 9417 7779
Working in Fitzroy means I have the pleasure of having Brunswick Street’s Alimentari as my local deli/cafe. Owner Linda Jones has been running the place for the last 13 years, and knows how to create beautiful, simple food from quality ingredients. So when my boss tells me that she and two partners have just opened a new restaurant on Smith St, I book in for dinner that very night.
Gorski and Jones is a smart, modern and inviting place with bare brick walls, hanging pot plants, and a somewhat industrial feel that seems to be all the rage with new restaurants these days. The food is a modern take on Italian classics, such as the antipasto starter we begin with ($18.00).
A gorgeous selection of marinated vegetables, cheeses, meats and other delectables appears soon after we order, and I breath a sigh of relief that it’s not just some shrivelled sun-dried tomatoes or oily olives you see at the supermarket. This is real antipasto: a few simple ingredients treated well with a little care and respect. Tender eggplant wrapped around creamy ricotta; chargrilled zucchini and onions marinated in some oil and herbs; a wedge of pumpkin fritatta; spanish anchovies served just as they are; and a lightly battered fish (perhaps a garfish?) all make up the wonderful array of antipasti the night we visit. Some ricotta and fresh, hand-cut bread also appears alongside.
We also order the roasted mozzarella, prosciutto, tomato sugo, reggiano ($18.00) to begin with at the suggestion of out waiter. A friendly, chatty girl she attentatively fills our water glasses and offers another cocktail when she spys our empty glasses. Miss R#1 opts for the blood orange mojito ($16.00), Miss R#2 and I choose the “Convent in Chile” – a blend of kumquats, cranberry, vodka and grapefruit ($17.00), and Miss K sticks with red wine. What a perfect Friday night this is shaping up to be, I think to myself.
After a few drinks and the starters, we decide to move onto something more substantial. My boss had raved about the rabbit she had when she had visited, so we decide to share this, as well as the duck for our mains (both $26.00). Both arrive atop amazing cheesy white polenta. It’s a tough call, but I think of the two I prefer the duck.
Miss R#2 who is dairy intolerant, meanwhile orders the linguini with seafood, chilli, garlic, tomato and virgin olive oil ($25.00). With an Italian background, I believe her when she tells me how beautifully authentic it tastes. I am lucky enough to score a mouthful: I’m not a huge pasta fan but for this I could be swayed. Miss R#2 remarks that the pasta water has been under seasoned, which I’m sure only someone with a trained pallate such as Miss R#2 can spot.
Being the bunch of girls that we are, we all decide to order dessert. Miss R#1 and I both choose the chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream ($14.00), an amazing chocolate pudding that oozes like magma when cut into. The rhubarb that accompanies it has the right balance of sweet and sour, though I would have preferred it to be cooked a touch longer as there is still some crunch left in the thicker pieces.
Miss R#2 orders the gelato (4 scoops for $10), and selflessly asks that the vanilla and chocolate flavours be served separately from the strawberry and lemon so that the dairy tolerant can have them. Served on a bed of biscotti, the rich chocolate and creamy vanilla flavours I taste remind me of those big Italian restaurants I used to visit with my parents growing up, where they give you so much ice cream you couldn’t possibly eat anything else.
Miss K orders the honey creme caramel ($12.00), a simple dish served simply without much embellishment. Not that it needs it. The honey flavour is evident without being overpowering, and it has just the right texture: not too stiff.
By the end of the night, we are all raving about the food. It may be a small menu, but it definitely delivers. I love that there’s the option of sharing dishes or greedily keeping one all to yourself. I’ve heard in the future they are thinking of having a barbeque out back which would be amazing on a warm summer night. A definite must visit!!