Gurdys sits halfway between Gigi’s and Lentil as Anything. After a five-week transformation of the former Buzzbar site, Gurdys is serving cocktails and a share menu that caters to vegans as well as it does to everyone else.
Compared to cramped neighbours such as Corridor and Bloodwood, Gurdys is surprisingly large. Stylist Belinda Cendron, aka The Sourceress, has dressed the space with phrenology busts, fluffy white pampas grass and collections of old books. Recycled wood panelling separates a sit-down dining space from bar tables. Steel window frames, rescued from the demolition yard, hang like halos over stools that run the length of the long bar. There’s pavement seating out the front for people-watching, and a courtyard out the back that will be popular in summer.
Gurdys is the long-held dream of husband-and-wife team Clare and Brett Davis. Together they’ve got more than 30 years of hospitality experience working in places such as Newtown’s Bank Hotel and Hobart’s Brunswick Hotel. Last year Brett worked on the relaunch of Edinburgh Castle, where he met head chef Daniel Lanza who helped design the menu of easy-to-share dishes.
The Green Dog (vegan) is the highlight and uses sausages from Newtown’s vegetarian butcher, Suzy Spoon. The shallot and ginger arancini are suitably crunchy, and Brazilian chef Nilton Nettow’s mini cheeseburger is ideal for a pre-dinner snack.
The Dirty Gurdys cocktail list sees classics served in vintage cut glass. The Killer XO Espresso Martini is made with Killer Coffee from local roasters Adore Estate. The Hot Buttered Rum, made with a top-secret house-made syrup, is one of the more popular warm cocktails.
Those with an eco-conscience will love the no-straws policy. Wine on tap from R!OT Wines is a sustainable option (the kegs take up less room than bottles and are easier to transport, hence fewer miles and there’s no spoilage because it's stored with pressurised nitrogen, so less waste). Mountain Goat and Balter beers are also available on tap.