Gertrude Street

VOGUE Living Australia - - VLIST -

If tourists with limited time ask for a quick fix of ‘real’ Mel­bourne, they should be marched to Fitzroy (Mel­bourne’s old­est sub­urb) with the sug­ges­tion they nav­i­gate the big rec­tan­gle bound by Brunswick, Gertrude, Smith and John­ston streets.

Yes, it’s hip­ster cen­tral, but this block ex­em­pli­fies the wider Mel­bourne rub-up of blue­stone and bo­hemia — a cosy mix of con­tra­dic­tions that re­sults in in­ter­est­ing cre­ative ten­sions. It’s where you will find some of the best emerg­ing art, fashion and de­sign, all flow­ing into the neigh­bour­ing burbs of Carlton, Colling­wood and Ab­bots­ford, now home to lead­ing de­sign of­fices and fur­nish­ing sup­pli­ers. The food of­fer­ings are fab­u­lously ex­per­i­men­tal and con­sis­tently ex­cel­lent, as trail­blazed by An­drew McCon­nell, who has made Gertrude Street his own. His ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the small pro­ducer feeds into three lo­cally res­o­nant places, the ve­hi­cles of which suit all speeds and needs in din­ing. The Builders Arms Ho­tel bridges the di­vide be­tween great-grub pub and the lo­cal punter’s pre­ferred wa­ter­ing place. Mar­ion is the chilled-vibe wine bar where de­cep­tively sim­ple share-food gets a thrilling spin, and Cut­ler & Co takes the stiff back (but not the whip-smart ser­vice) out of fine-din­ing in a for­mer metalworks fac­tory.

When in the hood, check out Mon­dopiero (Mi­lan train sta­tion meets de­sign shop), This Is No Fan­tasy (the gallery launch­pad for next-gen lo­cal art stars), Third Drawer Down (pur­veyor of the per­fect art sou­venir pressie), the Aus­tralian Print Work­shop (a not-for-profit with a print store sell­ing limited edi­tions by our best artists), and quaff a post-shop cock­tail at the seek-and-find The Ever­leigh (a se­rial en­try in the World’s 50 Best Bars list).

The food of­fer­ings are fab­u­lously ex­per­i­men­tal and con­sis­tently ex­cel­lent, as trail­blazed by restau­ra­teur An­drew McCon­nell

aus­tralian­print­work­shop.com; builder­sarmshotel. com.au; cut­lerandco.com.au; mar­i­on­wine.com.au; mon­dopiero.com.au; theev­er­leigh.com; third­draw­er­down.com; thi­sis­no­fan­tasy.com

An­drew McCon­nell at Cut­ler & Co, one of the restau­ra­teur’s three venues in Gertrude Street.

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