Justine May

Bistro Gitan


When I heard Jacques Reymond’s children had opened their own place in Sth Yarra, my ears tweeked, surely the apples don’t fall too far from the tree? And thankfully I was right. Our friends suggested we give Café Gitan a try, and on a very cold winter’s night in Melbourne, we headed down Toorak Rd, to the old Fawkner Club, opposite the Fawkner Gardens, with our two boys. We were early, trying to be responsible parents, so arrived at 6pm, when the restaurant was still empty.

As soon as you walk in the room, there is a warmth and familiarity about this very chic looking bistro. With a lovely lounge area in front of the fire and tables that are close but not crammed in. The tables are clothed and the chairs simple café style wooden numbers, and the floor is parquetry but certainly not cold.

Jacque’s three children run the show, and with Steven Nelson, ex Jacques Reymonds in Prahran, working the stoves, the food is in good hands. Apparently Jacques gets involved in the menu, and there are some real classics and a few Asian touches.

The specials board is filled with some great daily dishes, and I had a Mille Fuielle of Mushroom, which was just divine. The pastry was light and crisp and the mushrooms luscious. I then followed up with the Rabbit from the specials board as well, which had a rich marinade reduction coated to it, and just fell off the bone. 

My husband also ate from the special’s board, and tried the Soup of the day, which was a local fish soup from the Auvergne region of France, followed by another special the Braised Beef Rib on a bed of creamed potatoes and an assortment of veg. The Lasagna special with the crab was a great dish that my son and our friend enjoyed (with French Fries on the side of course). And my youngest enjoyed the De boned garfish Colbert with lemon and garlic mayonnaise, MINUS the crispy salad of fennel and squid PLUS French Fries!!!

They have a beautiful array of desserts including a Gaufres (waffles) minute, chantilly, pineapple sauce nutella & lemon, and Tranche Napolitaine with five flavours of ice cream and sorbet with amaretto biscuit maple syrup. We settled on an L’Artisan Fromage Blanc board, featuring some gorgeous cheeses and condiments, our sons enjoyed the waffles.

The wine list has a great selection of wines by the glass and the main list features a good splattering of Italian, French, Australian and NZ wines in a reasonable price bracket, that doesn’t set the heart rate going.

I would highly recommend Bistro Gitan not only for an early evening with the kids, but for a grown up’s night out as well. I will certainly be returning to try some more of their gorgeous French fare. And so nice to see the next generation is making their own mark and not riding off the proverbial coat tails!

Bistro Gitan – 52 Toorak Rd West, Sth Yarra (between Punt & St Kilda Roads) Ph – 03 9867 5853


Open Monday to Saturday dinner, and Tuesday to Friday lunch