The gents at Gerald’s Bar, Gerald Diffey and Mario Di Ienno, in Carlton North have teamed with Nicolas Poelaert (ex-chef at Embrasse) to open a city eatery serving food and wine with little ego and a dash of spontaneity.

Diffey has put together a “mature team working at the highest level”, which sees general manager Paul Guiney (ex-Movida) working alongside wine guy Matt Brooke (ex-Circa).

Poelaert’s menu offers patrons a variety of dining experiences, from small plates at the long marble bar through to house and seasonally changing dishes or a five-course degustation in one of two dining rooms.

“Clean and pure” cooking will use local produce sourced from “outrageously good suppliers”, explains Diffey, which places less emphasis on cream, butter and fat.

With roughly 200 bottles on the list, expect new-style wines, light shirazes, burgundies and a hint of the unusual, with cocktails in the experienced hands of Shae Silvestro, former bartender at Richmond’s Der Raum.

The warm, elegant space – adorned with modern artwork – offers a fun, playful experience, while music of the vinyl and digital kind is sure to heighten the mood.

The venue will take walk-ins, bookings and has a private room seating 10.

Basement 115-117, Collins Street (enter via George Parade), Melbourne
(03) 9001 8755

Mon to Thurs 11.30am–midnight
Fri & Sat 4pm–1am