- Establishment: The Gem
- Address: 289 Wellington St crn Hotham St, Collingwood (Tram 86 Bundoora, travel away from the city, go along Smith Street, get off at Stop 20 and cross the street and you can go down either Keele or Hotham st til you hit Wellington)
- Hours: BAR HOURS
Tues-Thurs: 3pm – 11pm
Fridays: 12pm – 1am
Saturdays: 1pm – 1am
Sundays: 1pm – 11pm
- SUMMER DINING HOURS
Tues-Thurs: 6pm – 9:30pm
Fridays: 12pm – 3pm / 5:30pm – 10pm
Saturdays: 1pm – 10pm
Sundays: 1pm – 9:30pm
- Contact: (03) 9419 5170 (after 3pm)
Tonino: 0417 986 403 (before 3pm)
- Visit date: 18th May, 2012
For over 8 months, Olleh has been trying to get me to come along to The Gem’s Happy Hour. I am KICKING myself for not going earlier!
As soon as I came into this name sake pub, I knew instantly that this watering hole could be THE ONE! After my beloved Arthouse closed its doors, I have been secretly mourning it’s loss but now I am over it. Things will never be the same and its time that I move on.
It was warm, cozy and slightly familiar whilst sitting up at the bar which is how I best enjoy my drink and foods.
The main reason for coming here was for the awesome price of $5.50 for a pint especially the Monteith’s Cider. Happy Hour is conducted from 5 – 7pm Fridays so you can imagine one would NOT hesitate to sink a few in a short time period. Monteiths on tap had a sharp, crisp clean taste, slightly bitter but nice though it’s not my favourite.
I ordered food to snack from looking over to what one of the lovely bar staff was munching on. I HAD TO HAVE what she was having so I got the Rice Balls (mini arancini) $8 for about 7 golf ball sized that was full of cheesy fluffy ricy goodness, golden brown crust on the outside and served with a generous helping of garden salad with shavings of parmesan woven through.
A couple of pints later, I sunk my teeth into the Buttermilk chicken $12. Holy Shiiiiiiiiiiitake, Batman! You could taste the tangy buttermilk and peppery coating on these deep fried little beauties. I got about 3 pieces of chicken tenderloins, coated in buttermilk batter served on a bed of dark green salad, Spanish onions and finely sliced capsicums which came with a side of chipotle sauce that was slightly smoky and good but it needed more oomph!
My initial response to this flavour punch was drunkenly tapped into my phone’s note app which read: “Fuck…this is…WOW!” and I think that was enough to encourage Benji T. to order the same dish. I even managed to record myself trying to describe my experience but the playback just sound like some drunken douche bag trying terribly to be a food critic…yep, I must of looked like a total wanker! But really, I was just afraid that I might forget but this food experience was so astoundingly fantastic that an actual emotional memory had been formed.
Bonus – Elvis albums sitting proudly against the walls, Day of the Dead figurines, Hank Williams photos, the local band playing at 9pm-ish and the warm atmosphere that this place exudes.
Chance of Return: HIGH…Very High. I really want to go there again!