If “industrial cathedral” was a design term, then Sam and Celeste Gant, the couple behind catering and event businesses Pot & Pan, Gather & Tailor and Pepper Sprout Hire, have nailed it in their latest venture, Gathered. In a cavernous space originally built as a wool factory, and that once housed the Lonely Planet offices, Gathered channels all sorts of warehouse chic. There are two walls of almost floor-to-high-ceiling steel-framed windows, and a stripped-back fit-out.
“We want people to walk in and feel like they’re somewhere else, like Brooklyn or Berlin. That’s what drew us to this building in the first place; we just couldn’t get past the windows,” says Sam. “The only remnants of what it was originally like are the solid-steel beams. Everything else has been gutted, painted, the flooring was ripped up and the concrete polished.”
The furniture and fixtures are a mixture of locally sourced – such as the brass signage by Studio Tops, hand-carved stone sculptures by denHolm, and planters and timber tables dotted around the room – and finds from overseas trips. Huge vintage black factory lights from Amsterdam hang from the ceiling, and staff wears earthy green aprons that Celeste found in a hotel shop in in Japan.
The walls are camouflage-green and cream, a colour scheme inspired by a hotel Sam stayed at in Berlin, and Celeste hand-cut all the leather tags that serve as cupboard handles.
Chef Olivia Oldfield-Beechey has cooked at Fitzroy vegetarian restaurant Transformer and at Pot & Pan, and had returned to her native England when the Gants lured her back to run the kitchen here. “She was so special, and it would have been a shame not to utilise her talents here,” says Sam.
The menu is concise and by no means strictly vegetarian, but Oldfield-Beechey has a particular flair for vegetables. Every day she’ll load up the cabinet with five big seasonal salads inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking. Choose up to three, and add meat if you like – maybe slow-roasted lamb seasoned with Middle Eastern spices.
The rest of the breakfast and lunch menu is just as vibrant. A beetroot smash comes with rolled up smoked salmon, pickled beetroot, cucumber ribbons and crème fraiche, with the occasional pop of fried capers. Scrambled eggs made with smoked butter and chilli are served with a spicy green sauce on sourdough, and asparagus on toast comes with a broad bean and pea puree, zucchini, mint, snow pea tendrils and a fried egg. Simpler is the egg and bacon roll with Sriracha mayonnaise and stretchy smoked mozzarella.
Coffee from Seven Seeds, tea by Love Tea and Strange Love sparkling drinks form the beverage menu.
The name, Celeste says, was easy. “We liked the idea of everything connecting and thought, ‘What’s the opposite of Lonely?’, because Lonely Planet was in here before. So, the opposite of Lonely is Gathered. People gather together and that aligns with everything we do.”
Corner Parker and Maribyrnong Streets, Footscray
(03) 9687 1127
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on October 7, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.