L’Hotel Gitan is one of a newer breed of restaurants that captures the best of the chef’s skills, without the pomp and ceremony of silver service. (Silver service may be taking it too far as a descriptor, but you catch my drift.) Yes, there are table cloths on the tables. Yes, the waiters are knowledgeable. And yes, the standards are high. But, the dining room has a buzz, and the accompanying din see-saws between loud and too loud. The atmosphere is created by the crowd, and by the open kitchen, allowing the goings-on to be centre stage.
The food was outstanding; delivered flawlessly on a very busy Saturday night where the tables were turning and the place was alive. Not the place for a quiet dinner – there is so much going on here. Efficient service was somewhat rushed as they tried to deal with the influx of customers at dinnertime. The kitchen appeared to be well-equipped and delivered with ease.
We ordered the bone marrow special and the charcuterie plate to start – both were exceptional. As this was a celebration, we paired them with a couple of glasses of fine Australian sparkling.
For mains we both went for the 300g Bavette steak. They came out perfectly medium-rare, although I would have liked a bit more flavour from the grill. I love this cut for it’s additional flavour, but find that it needs some charring to bring it out. It brings with it the necessity to chew a little more, but this compromise is ok with me. The onion rings that came with the steak could have been omitted, as they didn’t really add anything to the dish. We paired the steaks with a Nick O’Leary Bolaro Shiraz (2013) which was nothing short of divine, and available by the glass.
The side of greens was perhaps slightly overcooked, and over-seasoned – although this is more a matter of preference than anything else. Of course we would have loved to order dessert (or cheese), but we were both too full to even consider this option.
Few things get me more excited than the opportunity to get out to a properly good restaurant and enjoy a night of decadent feasting. I’m not one for the pomp and ceremony of fine dining. Rather, I prefer to enjoy the best of the food, in a more casual environment. Lucky for me, this seems to be the way the restaurant scene is heading.