We are finding it harder and harder to get out for date night during these chilly Melbourne nights. We live next to L’Hotel Gitan, and for some reason have yet to dine here. We have been to their sister restaurant Bistro Gitan, so thought it was time to walk down the road to compare the two.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
Walking in, I noticed that L’Hotel Gitan was slightly fancier than the bistro version, however still had a very similar set up. It was a Thursday night and were able to get a booking at 7pm. We arrived with only a hand full of tables seated.
The space is larger than expected, with around 45 tables, booths and a semi private dining space. Polished wooden floors, fireplace, dim lighting and a rustic old world French charm fill the restaurant.
We made our way past the large bar and open concept kitchen to the back of the restaurant, where we were seated at a small table with white linen. Once seated, our waitress brought menus and water as we looked over the wine list.
Within 20 minutes of being seated, the restaurant was full with a buzz from the crowd and noise from the kitchen creating a wonderful atmosphere.
Our waitress was knowledgeable and the service provided was flawless. She explained each dish with great detail, kept our water and wine glasses full, and had a genuine friendly attitude.
The Raymond family know French cuisine like the back of their hand and this ‘Gastro Pub meets French flair’ is no exception. Everything that was presented was well prepared using the freshest ingredients, creatively displayed and the flavours were stunning.
When you think French, you think duck… well at least that’s what we always love about French cuisine. So hearing their daily specials of duck was like Christmas! While we quickly made our decisions, we enjoyed some beautiful warm crusty bread that was brought to the table after our wines were poured.
To start we ordered their duck special, which was ‘Duck Tenderloin’ with a walnut crust. The flavours from the walnut created a sweet finish to the very tender pieces of duck. The only disappointment was that there wasn’t enough!
I ordered the ‘Gitan Steak Tartare’ served with capers, cornichons, lettuce cup and celeriac remoulade. The dressing had a slight spice, which worked beautifully with the sliced tartare. This was a perfect portion size for each of the cups!
Our final entree was the ‘Tea Salt Baby Beet Salad’ served with goats curd, sage, king brown mushroom and seasonal greens. I loved how they incorporated different elements of preparing the beetroot, which made for a wonderful fresh finish.
We took a quick breather and enjoyed a bit more wine before our mains arrived. MC ordered the ‘Three Pepper Duck Magret’ served with glazed duck breast, legumes pot au feu, cider vinaigrette. This was a bit too sweet for me, however MC absolutely loved it. The meat was tender and juicy and the cider vinaigrette brought a slight tang to the dish.
Since MC ordered the duck, I decided to go with the ‘Eye Fillet’ served with chips and bearnaise sauce. Although it looked rather simple on the plate, the bearnaise was well prepared and the steak was cooked to perfection.
So mains were done and it was time for more wine. We were nearing the end of the bottle and decided for a quick dessert before making a move. Our waitress sold us on their amazing ‘White Chocolate & Yogurt Delice’ with chocolate entremet, apricot & yuzu gel, raspberry coulis, mandarin sorbet. There were so many different elements and textures to the plate; it was like something new with every fork full you took. Such a decadent and delicious dessert!
Overall, I’m so glad we finally made the 10 minute walk here! I can’t believe for somewhere so close to where we live, it’s taken this long for us to get here. With so many daily specials on offer, I can definitely see us heading back in the not too distant future.