Ground Level, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne Melbourne, VIC

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Opening hours Mon - Sun 11 AM to 4 PM
Features Bar, Outdoor seating, Accepts bookings, Vegetarian friendly, Wheelchair access
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Gabriel Martin
Seats 100
Payments Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 8620 2434

The dining room of the NGV's flagship restaurant might seem a little stark if it weren't for the expanse of glass overlooking the Grimwade Gardens and sculptures by the likes of Rodin and de Kooning. Smart service caters to the lunch-only crowd, delivering share plates such as a wooden paddle piled high with calamari in a saffron and sage batter, or a charcuterie board of prosciutto, salami and pickles. Main courses may, at times, seem overloaded with ingredients, as in a dish of pistachio-crusted john dory with steamed scallops, watercress, lime foam and sun-dried tomatoes. More successful is the pairing of crunchy scallop and prawn dumplings with the silky finish of corn panna cotta. Roasted duck breast balanced with orange glaze and an earthy heirloom beetroot salad also hits the mark. Creative desserts, such as chocolate tubes piped with chocolate mousse or peppermint sorbet, bring to an end an experience that cleverly marries art and food.