Friday 29 April 2011

The Alphabet Dinners: G is for Gas

In The Alphabet Dinners series, I review the cheap restaurants of Melbourne... In alphabetical order.

What with reviewing Comedy Festival shows and preparing for my forthcoming Lonely Planet assignment in Poland, I haven't reviewed a restaurant from The Age Cheap Eats for a couple of weeks; and this laxity just won't do.

So I downloaded the 2011 edition of the Cheap Eats iPhone app, and since the only spare time I had this week was in the afternoon, I chose somewhere from it to eat. So this was an Alphabet Lunch, from necessity.

Gas appeared to be a new entry in the guide, located not far from the South Melbourne Market. I found it in one of the old Victorian shopfronts of Coventry Street, with the interior paint stripped back to reveal a rough collection of old red bricks with sagging mortar lines.

The fit-out was in that modern sexy industrial look (which I quite like) - bare floorboards, long workbench-like tables, completely open kitchen.

After sitting inside for a while I surmised that this was one of those benighted order-at-the-counter places that make diners queue up for service.

However, this did mean I could see all the food on offer in the glass case at the counter. One thing you have to admit about Melbourne is that we're spoiled when it comes to informal dining: all the items on offer here looked fantastic, and were affordably priced.

Choices had to be made. You know I like to show you a selection of items, but there were no clear starters/mains divisions here. So, for argument's sake, let's call the Moroccan sausage roll my starter:

Hard to say what was particularly Moroccan about it, as it just tasted like a good deli-style homemade sausage roll. Solid and filling, and it came with a side serve of exotic chutney.

Next up, my "main": a chicken sausage and halloumi flatbread, filled with a visually attractive combo of the named ingredients plus pieces of boiled egg and other tasty elements along the lines of relish and leafy greens. Toasted, it tasted just as good as it looked:

And finally, a glass of Winbirra 2008 pinot gris from the Mornington Peninsula. Plenty of body and flavor, and just right for the cafe food and the warm autumnal weather.

The Bill: $27.50
The Restaurant: Gas, 253 Coventry St, South Melbourne; Ph: 03 9690 0217.

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