Gabriel is named in a nod to this space’s previous life. It was formerly De Clieu cafe (French lieutenant Gabriel De Clieu is credited with introducing coffee to French colonies in South America). The intention is that diners feel as though they’re sitting in a European espresso bar in the ’50s, with a bit of a modern edge.
Terrazzo flooring, emerald-green wall tiles and large sash windows lend a vintage feel, while a large, mixed-media piece by Melbourne-based artist Patrick Dagg brings you squarely into the here and now. The oversized glass pendant lights redolent of the 1930s come from an old boarding school in Tasmania.
The all-day breakfast and lunch menu is simple but elegant. Potato galette is served with cured trout, asparagus, goat’s curd, earthy beetroot and curling pea tendrils. A lightly spiced gingerbread is made using teff (an ancient grain from Ethiopia), served with orange crème anglaise, poached rhubarb, little balls of strawberry sorbet and a scattering of ground pistachios. Lighter is the roasted seed and nut granola; more substantial, the oxtail ragout.
Coffee is by Inglewood Coffee Roasters. There’s also batch brew, French press and cold brew. And a selection of teas, Mörk hot chocolate and a seasonal house-made soda.
Daytime cocktails make up a third of the drinks list. There’s espresso spiked with whiskey and maple, and the French classic Kir Royale, which combines prosecco and crème de cassis. There’s a tight list of Victorian wine, beer and cider on offer, too.