Gauge is Jerome Batten’s second venue, building from his well-loved Sourced Grocer in Newstead. While the latter captures a produce store and café in one brief, Gauge dabbles in weekend breakfast/bunch trade, but is perhaps best known for its two, three and seven course dinner offerings. Batten opened Gauge in 2015 with chef Cormac Bradfield as his business partner, who was joined at the pass by head chef Phil Marchant.
While the brunch menu looks to walk down some familiar roads, it does so in a playful and inventive way, with everything lovingly house made. Take for example their ‘bacon sanga’, smothered with house-made barbecue sauce and wrapped in similarly proprietorial sourdough bread. Avocado on toast gets dressed up with barley and lentil miso, and black lemon, while a sourdough waffle is crowned with celeriac ice cream.
Dinner is certainly a more elevated affair, but the same attention to detail is felt at both ends of the day. The dishes are inventive and modern, employing an eclectic range of ingredients, without supplying to a particular style. Native ingredients feature at times, as do Japanese staples, modern favourites, like black garlic and all manner of ferments, get a run, but this is individual cooking at its core, deceptively simple but bold and inventive. The ingredients are sourced locally from small independent producers and are overwhelmingly seasonal.
The wine list very much reflects the sourcing ethos of the kitchen, and bends to what is being cooked. The wine producers they work with are typically local and have a hands-on approach to growing and a hands-off approach to bringing their wine to bottle. The offer shifts and changes according to what Bradfield and Marchant are cooking, with both the bottle and by-the-glass lists changing weekly.