In February, West End lost one of its beloved neighbourhood spots, Pasta Club. After months of renovations, Gum Bistro – co-owned by ex-Pasta Club chef Lachlan Matheson – has taken its place. And the team has already noticed many former regulars returning.

“There’s a family who have a book club every second Tuesday,” says co-owner and sommelier Phil Poussart. “For two years, they would come into Pasta Club. The first Tuesday we’re open, they’re back.”

Poussart and Matheson opened Gum Bistro last weekend, revealing a significantly brighter space. There’s plenty of timber, white-painted wall panelling and touches of greenery, yet it’s the finer details that makes it special. Flowers from Avalon Florals, stamped Gum Bistro napkins and local artwork contribute to a cosy, considered space.

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Matheson – whose resume also includes Gerard’s and London’s Bright – is embracing the opportunity to showcase more than just pasta. “In essence, it’s still simple cooking,” he says. “We’re just cooking a bit of everything now.”

You might start with a textbook duck liver parfait with Riser sourdough, before moving onto a cold salad of squid, fennel, chicory and lemon. Mains include cabbage-wrapped cobia with zucchini and crème fraîche; Magra lamb rump with sweetbread, beans and radicchio; and an autumn vegetable pot pie with caramelised onion and gruyere. A sweet corn agnolotti with parmesan cream is proving a fan favourite.

In short, it’s honest cooking using produce from local suppliers like The Falls Farm, Suncoast Fresh and Mick’s Nuts. “The idea is not to be super flag-wavy about [the produce]; that’s just how you make things tasty,” Poussart says. “Buy a nice turnip and half your job is done.”

While there are cocktails, beers and digestifs, you come here for the wine. Poussart was formerly sommelier at Pilloni, Essa and Hobart’s Fico, so expect an enticing offering. A by-the-glass list includes Spanish cava, Tasmanian savagnin and a cabernet blend from France’s Loire Valley. An extended wine list offers numerous rare finds by the bottle, including a Slovenian sparkling.

In the future, the team plans to introduce brunch, “like braised chicken and lentils”, says Matheseon. The bright space is an ideal spot to sit with a glass of wine and a nourishing plate of food while the sun is still high. “It’s [actually] much nicer in here during the day.”

Gum Bistro
237 Boundary Street, West End
0467 060 560

Tue to Sat 5pm–10pm