Gigi’s, Beechworth

27 Apr

We had one really disappointing dining experience while we were in Beechworth. This was it.

While we’re on our epic drive, I get a call from the restaurant asking us to confirm our lunch at 1.30pm on Saturday. Uh, what? We booked through Dimmi for 7pm on Saturday. The person on the other end of the line tells me this is why they ring to check – but this is weird, because we used Dimmi to book for Provenance and there was no issue. She says it’s tight, but they expect to be busy so they can still fit us in for 7pm. Great – sorted.

We take our seats in the small, very dark restaurant. I like the fit out, with bench seats along the walls and a bar area in the middle which leads into the kitchen. We order our wines and peruse the menu.

Page 1

Page 1

Page 2

Page 2

Our wines take a long time to arrive. A really long time. We’re also the only table without water, and have to remind them to bring it to us. When our waiter takes our order, she asks me twice but still doesn’t understand what I say (“sirloin”), and we watch her return to the kitchen to check the menu, and then return to ask me how I’d like it cooked (rare). This is fine – at least she checks.

Generous servings of wine

Generous servings of wine

The eventual wine servings are generous, but once we finish our water and ask for more, we’re poured glasses – no bottle is left. These things are fine on their own, but the combined inconsistencies are frustrating (especially when you’re thirsty!).

Maybe it’s due to the booking weirdness, but I think there’s an extra table in the restaurant tonight. Twice, we’re almost served our neighbour’s dishes, and the staff are often counting the tables.

It’s a long wait between our order and being served – we’ve only got the one dish each, after all – but eventually they emerge.

Pan-seared barramundi ($32)

Pan-seared barramundi ($32)

Boyfriend’s pan-seared barramundi is served on top of polenta. For $32, I’d expect this to be pretty special, but it’s flavourless.

Black angus sirloin

Black angus sirloin ($36)

The black angus sirloin is charred over pinecones. The potato fondant hasn’t been cooked long enough, and the charring of the sirloin has brought it to medium, not rare. The cafe de paris butter has been pulled straight from the fridge, and doesn’t ooze over the steak like I’d expect – and there’s been no effort in the ingredients. The pine mushrooms add nothing.

Far from rare...

Far from rare…

What’s worse – the steak is tough and chewy. It’s a disappointing dish.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, the kitchen starts smoking. Really smoking. This happens (and in my house it happens every time the stove is on) to even the best chefs… but it goes on and on; everyone notices, and there’s no explanation. The door’s chocked open, so the freezing temperatures from outside come through, and customers throughout the venue shrug on their jackets. A quick explanation would have been enough – we’ve already noticed it, so you might as well explain it. We could even have a short laugh about it.

I’m not one to leave a lot of food on my plate, but I barely get halfway through this meal. I can’t do it. To one of the staff’s credit, she asks me if there’s something wrong, and I tell her that it’s tough and overcooked, but that’s that. We ask for the bill, and after we get it, wait so long that we find cash, leave it on the table, and see ourselves out.

This is my first trip to Gigi’s, and I get that it might have been a very busy night for the staff, but there’s nothing I can recommend. The menu is appealing but it’s for nothing when there’s a lack of execution on the floor and in the kitchen.

The following day, I get an e-mail – “We would really like feedback on your meal” – and I write them with the above to their e-mail address. I’ve heard nothing since – maybe they didn’t really want feedback after all?

Date: Saturday, 19 April 2014

Where: 69 Ford Street, Beechworth

Cost: $88 for two mains and two glasses of wine

Value for money: Low – these are pretty high prices for not much

Worthwhile factor: Not worthwhile

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7 Responses to “Gigi’s, Beechworth”

  1. Linda May 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    The B&B we stayed at had actually recommended us against Gigi’s when we were there. A shame you have to go through that experience :(

    • inthetaratory May 8, 2014 at 7:59 am #

      It *could* be really good. But it just wasn’t.

  2. whisperinggums May 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    We haven’t been to this one … but we have been a couple of times to The Ox and Hound which as I recollect is roughly across the road … We loved it on our first visit and liked it the second which was a Sunday after a busy weekend and with a more relaxed menu. It was a bit heavy handed by comparison with our first visit perhaps angling for a more family oriented clientele.

    • inthetaratory May 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      Sadly I wouldn’t bother this one … it has the feel of something which could have been good once, but very much isn’t now. I think the Ox and Hound was where we tried the first night (packed) and bailed and went to the Green Shed. I did like the look of their menu!

      • whisperinggums May 19, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

        Ah yes, it could have been. It’s small so both times we went we did book. Beechworth is a buzzing little place isn’t it – pretty much any time of the year, though I’ve usually been there in autumn, late summer or spring. Winter may be quieter?

      • inthetaratory May 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

        Yes, they do very well as a little town, I think. I wonder if it gets some of the visitors to the Bright/Snowy region further south in winter (surely…).

      • whisperinggums May 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

        Yes, you are probably right – hopefully it would.

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