Time Out Melbourne

Bistro Gitan is South Yarra in a nutshell

It's cute-as-a-button and looks like a house, but this corner terrace is actually the latest French/Spanish bistro/bodega to hit South Yarra. The prodigious offspring of Cuisine Du Temps super-chef Jacques Reymond (Edouard, Nathalie, and Antoine Reymond) have collaborated on Bistro Gitan, and it's about as far as you can get up South Yarra’s alley.

It’s an old-school kind of joint -– napkins laid across your lap, waiters who aren’t wearing combat boots, dark decor and some rather lovely upholstery -– but with a modern enough pan-European menu to pique some serious interest.

Traditionalists are sated by faithful renditions of patés, buttery snails and well-grilled steaks the size of handbags, but there’s also interesting gear like churros (Spain’s contribution to heart disease), reinvented as a savoury starter. The usually sugar-coated deep fried dough batons are spiked with gruyere cheese, so you get a crisp shell with a slightly gooey centre and a fat-god appeasing dip of celery and yoghurt.

Or then there are silky thick ribbons of papardelle pasta, folded under pan-fried chicken livers that are rendered totally unlivery by smoky pancetta and a sticky sweet balsamic glaze. It’s offal for the most adventurously challenged eater. The wine list isn’t bad either – lots of local and French gear in every serving size including carafes and 250ml pichets – for couples who share everything except a drinking problem.

We're not so keen on the snapper cooked en papillote (fancy talk for 'in a paper bag') as the steamy process seems to leach the sweetness out of the fish, but their take on steak tartare is a winner. Raw beef is sliced rather than minced, rolled around with Tabasco, Spanish onion and capers and served in a creamy celeriac lined lettuce cup like the love child of beef carpaccio and san choi bau.

In a word, Gitan is nice. It’s full of couples and big families, and it's bang on the money for this plush and leafy 'hood.

Who won the Melbourne food awards?

First published on . Updated on .

By Gemima Cody, Photos: Graham Denholm   |  

Bistro Gitan details

Address
52 Toorak Rd West, South Yarra 3141

Telephone 03 9867 5853

Price per person including drinks $51 to $100

Open Mon 5-10pm; Tue-Fri 12 noon-10pm; Sat 3-10pm

Bistro Gitan website

Bistro Gitan map

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