A dashing friend of mine takes all his first dates to Gills Diner, and you’ll have to agree that the atmosphere is like the deep, soothing tones of Barry White, the flowing tresses of Fabio and embodies the pleasing exaggeration of a drugstore romance. The incandescent glow of candles, French waiters and intimate ambience will collectively sweep your lady friend off her feet, knock her socks off and wow the pants off of her. Mystery solved as to why he chooses this well established Melbourne enclave: removal of clothing. Of course, that’s if she doesn’t abandon you for the charming waiter with the accent, charisma and the bringing of food: which sounds like the most perfect combination of man.
Gills Diner is located down its namesake: Gills Alley (branching off Little Collins) and daylights as the Commercial Bakery. Which explains why, as we left this otherworldly romance, my date and I were both given a freshly baked loaf of bread each. A carb-filled fairy tale ending? As grateful as we were, we awkwardly mosied (apparently not a real word unless you live in Texas) on to Siglo after our dinner. I kept feeling the urge to gnaw on my loaf while sipping my gin & tonic. I was also thinking, gee whiz (I just said that) this loaf will come in handy when I need to fight off inner city offenders and soak up my hangover.
The menu is brief and chalked on the wall in what I believe was French font. No such thing you say? Flamboyant and curly with very pronounced Ys - the ones that dip into your underline. So French. Much like the rest of the restaurant, it feels very thrown together and accidental but the oiled service indicates a very slick varnish on all this rustic charm.
We began with oysters – as if we required more aphrodisiac. Followed by the beef, the barramundi and a side of potatoes. Honestly, the food is not outstanding, jaw dropping, pants dropping or similar. But the beef was tender and the barramundi perfectly cooked. Yes, you will find better food for less inflated prices around the CBD, but no you will never substitute the charm. Uhhh he-llo (bonjour!) the French waiter gave us a loaf of bread. A loaf of BREAD. Oh stop it.
360 Little Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9670 7214