Gerald's Bar

386 Rathdowne St Carlton North, VIC 3054

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Opening hours Mon-Sat 5pm-11pm,Sun 3pm-10pm
Features Bar, Gluten-free options, Licensed, Outdoor seating, Romance-first date
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Peter Savage
Seats 50
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9349 4748

Convivial, cluttered and slightly dissolute, Gerald's plays a vital role in Carlton North, where places to slump with a glass in your hand are few and far between. But this is no dive. fine wines, cool tunes and an ever-changing array of cleverly constructed small plates make that abundantly clear. Most dishes comprise just a few elements, relying on ingredient quality as much as flavour combinations. Sweet kingfish tataki is offset by pink grapefruit and chervil; glistening roasted quail comes with pomegranate seeds and burghul. Larger offerings include a generous pork chop with radicchio and pistachios, or porterhouse topped with thyme butter and served with a side of iceberg. If you'd rather graze while concentrating on the tipples, you can play padron pepper roulette, or linger over a board of prosciutto, bresaola, sopressa and pork and fennel salami. With its quirky brand of charm, Gerald's feels like a private club. Luckily for Melbourne it takes all comers.