Just came back from an excellent dinner at GAS, the new Terzini place at Crown, Melbourne. I was going to leave this until I write a Melbourne report, but it was so satisfying I felt I had to spit it out first.
Firstly, they don't take reservations, so my advice would be to go earlier or later (dinner service begins at 6pm) - we went at 9pm.
Location: where one of the Warner Bros. stores were - the space is hence pretty big, and the decor is quite industrial meets retro, with 50s-style tiling all round. The salumi glass case just behind the bar area is an ace gawping opportunity.
Menu: large, very reasonably priced (mains come in approx. under $30), split into various sections - antipasti, zuppe, pasta, meats, crudo (raw), seafood, offal (yes, offal is a category), dolci etc. The style of food is casual, hearty Italian - think ragu, braised meats, veal, simple steamed fish etc.
We started with veal polpotte (pls excuse any spelling mistakes) from the antipasti cat., and "hand dive" hervy bay scallops plus sardines from the crudo section. The scallops were mind-blowingly fresh and was perfectly paired with its slightly tangy dressing + lemon juice. veal meatballs were good too, deep golden brown and piping hot from the deep fryer, v. tasty.
Mains - two of us had pastas, which were very well done, but the highlight was the stuffed pig's trotter from the offal section of the menu. It was stuffed with lamb sausage, celery, majoram etc. and cooked till the pork skin was translucent and jelly-like. It was delicious, if not a bit too salty - though it does come on a bed of veg (watercress? silverbeet?)
Dessert - portions were pretty big, so we could only fit one dessert in - it was a fresh raspberry, mascapone and vanilla tart. Perfect tart base (like a tuile - crisp, yet cookie-substantial), runny mascarpone mixed with grappa for a slight twang, and juicy berries. Simple yet totally yum!
So all in all I was very impressed (not so much by the sparse/capricious decor, but anyway, I'm not here to eat tiles), esp. for the price. Dinner for 3, incl. a glass of vino each came to A$150, which is a bargain at Crown, and for food and service of that calibre. (Service by the way was swift, though not always perfect, but never annoying).
Would love to hear if any other hounds have been!