Feb 9, 2014

A little bit of Tuscany in Heidelberg

To find a quality coffeehouse with amazing food can be as elusive as the dream itself – that’s what I thought until I discovered this place.

Based at the lower end of Burgundy Street, Heidelberg, is G&G Deli, a hidden gem that surpasses even the greatest expectations. Having recently opened in late 2013, G&G has quickly established itself as not just another café, but as a place to dine.

You’ll notice the difference as soon as you walk in – the friendly and knowledgeable staff approach you sincerely without coming across as pushy or snooty. The interior is simple and minimalist, white with dark & light timber furniture along with industrial features, such as the very cool old-style, caged light-fittings. There’s a real vibrancy to the place, yet it’s the subtle differences that really enhance the experience – like placing the noisy coffee machine as far away from the customers – but its G&G’s philosophy that cannot be denied: respecting food and celebrating it.

Nearly all produce is locally sourced, except for a few select cheeses and meats from Italy and France. Every day fresh hams, salami and other delightful Mediterranean fare are on display in the glass cabinet. Whether it be humble roasted cherry tomatoes or hand-pressed ravioli it’s a festival of colour, flavour, and indeed, life.

All pasta is handmade, cooked with traditional Italian recipes by manager and head chef Glenn Laurie. Glenn has worked at restaurants in Italy, London and most recently at the Saxton in Richmond, Melbourne. His passion for food goes hand-in-hand with G&G’s philosophy, as Glenn puts it, ‘letting the ingredients speak for themselves’. He prepares dishes inspired by his training and love for Italian food. Some of his most fond memories were learning cooking secrets in the kitchens of nonnas as he travelled the Tuscan countryside. Every week a new menu is created depending on what is in season, such as Arrosto di maiale – rolled and roasted Berkshire pork belly with green & yellow beans, roasted cherry tomatoes, rocket and salsa verde ($30).

The goal was to create a place where friends and locals could come and relax. Service is number one priority, followed by quality – this was something G&G noticed was lacking in Melbourne. G&G is able to offer good food, great coffee and quality customer service at reasonable prices which is a hard act to follow. But despite G&G’s reputation for excellence, it still prides itself on being a causal place for brunch, lunch or even a gourmet take-away dinner for the time-short individual.

Their coffee blend is not the usual run-of-the-mill, but crafted. It has a good, well-rounded body with the right balance and not too much acidity. G&G didn’t want to make its coffee like so many places in Melbourne – strong, overpowering, leaving you with a caffeine-induced headache. As for their desserts, they’re too good-looking to eat, including their mini berry puff-pastries: light, crispy pastry with fresh, tart raspberries and cream ($3) or zesty lemon tart ($13).

What also makes G&G a stand-out is not only do they make their own pasta and desserts onsite, but they also mill their own flour! Currently this is still a working progress as the science behind milling flour and baking bread is extremely complex. For this reason, G&G is working with food scientists from the CSIRO to perfect the process which is expected to take 12 months. Another of the many exciting features of G&G is they sell their own olive oil, bread and legumes. I also loved the large wine barrels with a choice of up to six wines on tap – it reminded me of the cool wine bars of Europe.

G&G is perfect for weekly lunch, dinners or a Sunday brunch. When I visited the other week, they had The Deli Binge: two organic eggs accompanied with several delicious extras ($20) or a grilled grass-fed Gippsland porterhouse steak with all the trimmings and more ($25). The thing that surprised me the most was how on-par G&G’s prices were with other Melbourne restaurants that didn’t offer organic, fresh & seasonal produce.

For friendly service, top-quality food, great ambience or a perfect coffee, G&G is the place to go.

Reviewed by Chris Vlahonasios
Edited by Kyriaki Fuss

G&G Deli
48 Burgundy Street
Heidelberg, VIC
9459 9114
Mon - Fri: 07:00 - 17:00
Sat: 08:00 - 17:00
Sun: 08:00 - 16:00
Web: G&G Deli



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