A little Italian between friends

Gorski & Jones

304 Smith Street, Collingwood 

Gorski & Jones

Gorski & Jones is yet another new restaurant on Smith Street with a vaguely industrial fit out, and a very pretty vaguely industrial fit out at that. I was going to rant here about how every second restaurant I see these days looks ecclectic and different in exactly the same way, but I won’t because to be honest, I still like it. The restuarant has a great casual (but still a little upmarket) atmosphere and a rear courtyard that looks amazing. The only thing I can legitimately complain about fit out-wise is that other than the lights hanging over the bar and kitchen counter there is no overhead lighting. I was there early enough that it was still light outside but I imagine that at grown-up dinner times it would get pretty dark inside.

The menu is made up of a small selection of relatively modern Italian dishes. There are very share-friendly starters and then more individual mains. Even though the mains appear to be aimed at solo eating (other than the gargantuan 1.2kg steak for $75) they can be shared pretty easily. Although the menu is small I had trouble choosing because so many things sounded good. Luckily I was there with a group of friends so was able to try a number of dishes – that’s the best thing about friends right? No? Ok, just ignore me. Don’t worry though cured meats and seafood spaghettini, I’ll be back for you.

Gorski chic

We ate
There were 4 of us and we shared 3 starters and 3 mains. First up was the antipasto ($18). Although there’s only one antipasto option on the menu we were asked by the waitress which size we wanted and then got a very confused look from her when we said we wanted the one listed on the menu. Strange. Anyway, on to the dish itself it was a mix of chickpeas with chorizo, eggplant and zucchini salad, eggplant wrapped with cheese, white sardines, fritatta and a mix of seafood including prawns and muscles. The sardines, muscles and eggplant were great.


Next up we tried the zucchini flowers with goats cheese, lemon and walnuts (two for $15). I thought these were delicious. A perfect delicate balance of batter, oozing cheese, lemon and nuts.

Zucchini flowers

Our final starter was the kingfish carpaccio with blood orange and watercress ($15). I’ve often had lemon with kingfish in the past but never blood orange, it was a good development, I’m not sure that lemon is going to cut it for me from now on.

Kingfish carpaccio

By the time we got to mains we were a man down after my friend the Prominent Eurasian had left to go and be prominent on the Melbourne opera watching scene. We’d ordered 3 mains with 4 people in mind and I think that would have been about right, we were probably all a little too full with only 3 people.

Our first main was the pumpkin amaretto ravioli with sage ($22). It was pretty good but I wasn’t super impressed, one of my friends also felt it was under cooked. Maybe  my expectations were just too high. I went to a work lunch at Merchant on Monday and had the pumpkin tortellini, the pumpkin tortellini at Merchant/Cellar Bar is one of my favourite things of all time. I could talk about it for hours while drooling a little on the table.  So you see it wasn’t really fair of me to order this ravioli so soon after the Grossi variety. The poor thing, it did the best it could, it came out looking pretty and buttery and served with just enough sage – trying hard to impress. It didn’t know it was playing a rigged game though, it was never going to be able to compete.

Pumpkin ravioli

We also tried the risotto with scallops, saffron and peas ($26, you can get a smaller serve for $18). The risotto was good, but the real standout was the scallops. I only had one  and it was hands down the most delicious scallop I can remember eating (for those playing along at home it was the one on bottom right in the picture, yes, I remember which one – this was a memorable scallop).

Scallop risotto

Finally we had the beef short ribs with soft polenta ($26). Now this, this is a dish I can get excited about. I know, I know, I’m a sucker for meat (especially in any kind of rib form) but this isn’t just bias, I thought that this was genuinely great. Tender and with crispy skin and a delicious sauce. This fatty cut isn’t for the diet-concious, but if you can swing the calories by skipping a meal or three the next day it is definitely worth it.

Beef short rib on polenta
All wrapped up
Gorski & Jones hasn’t been open for long but they’re doing a great job of delivering quality Italian food at not outrageous prices in a great space. I’ll be back to try more of the food and hopefully enjoy some summer weather in the courtyard.  

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