The Gidley is an American-style steakhouse one level below King Street. It’s by James Bradley and Warren burns, the duo behind fellow underground eatery Bistecca. They wanted this project to feel like a rabbit warren. And it does. From the moment you descend the stairs into the (very) dimly lit lounge, the service is warm, the jazz is loud, the booze is flowing and the atmosphere is relaxed.
There are velvet-lined booths and banquettes facing a dark wood-panelled galley-style bar filled with crystal drinking paraphernalia and bottles (and American whiskies). But there’s no actual bar. As a result, drinks are prepared and bottled before service and then finished in front of guests at the lounge or at the table. The Adonis, for example, is pre-diluted and poured at the table from a crystal decanter. It’s made with pineapple skin sous vide, sherry, and a house vermouth.
Martinis come deconstructed – your silver tray includes three ramekins filled with garnishes so you can make it how you like it: lemon rind for a twist, pickled onions for a Gibson, or green olives.
Like at Bistecca, the star of the menu is still a hunk of meat, this time the tasty Riverine Black Angus rib eye done one of three ways: chargrilled on the bone cooked over ironbark and charcoal (American-style, glamorous and showy); as a standing prime-rib roast in two sizes (700 grams or 300 grams); and as a 220-gram portion of spinalis or rib-eye cap trimmed off and served separately.
There’s also brick chicken – a whole bird deboned, butterflied and flattened under a brick. And a whole flounder served with butter, lemon and capers. And a classic American pumpkin pie. The accompaniments are always important at a steakhouse and classics such as crisp potatoes arrive under a weight of sour cream, smoky egg yolk and a tangy pop sprinkling of flying-fish roe.