ek Malherbe has been around the block. Having worked at some of our favourite restaurants and bars in the north – Rumi, St Jude’s, City Wine Shop, Cavallero, Boire and Enoteca Vino Bar – it’s no surprise she’s a bit of a pro. And now’s she’s returned to her old stomping ground in Hampton with a project of her own.
Sebastian’s Food & Wine opened just last week, on the corner of where Hampton Street meets the train line. Previously the tired old stalwart San Sebastian’s, Malherbe has given the beachside cafe a new lick of blue paint and tightened up some of the existing framework to create a smart but casual all-day eatery for this sandy locale. “I wanted to retain some of the old, but inject some of the new into it,” she says. “It was a local institution that needed some love.”
So after a slight name change and a full gutting of the place with the help of friends and family over the summer holiday, Malherbe turned the eatery around in just under a month.
The inside space is long, with large windows down one side to let lots of light in onto banquettes and stool seating. But out in the courtyard is where you really want to be in the summer months, sipping Pimm’s in the afternoon.
The menu, designed by Marilyn & Sons, has retained some casualness of the old with big bready sandwiches (poached free-range chicken on fluffy while bread with house-made mayo) and fresh salads (golden fennel, quinoa, orange and mint). From the kitchen, headed by Jake Scannell (ex Cavallero) comes a grilled catch-of-the-day, spaghetti with prawns and scallops, Pambula oysters and chunky, fat boy chips. There’s also a kids menu with jaffles, mac and cheese, a mini burger, lemonade icy poles and Ricketts Point ice cream. It’ll take you back to your own summer holiday by the beach.
There’s a local feel here with almost everything from the area (including Malherbe herself). The wine list is short and sharp, with four whites, three reds, a rose and some beer and cider from just around the corner (True South from Black Rock and 2 Brothers from Moorabbin).
Sitting right at Hampton station along the Sandringham line, this is a pretty peachy place to stop in for breakfast on the way through (bike/train), to grab a sandwich for the beach, a G&T post swim in the afternoon or an early dinner Friday and Saturday (they’re open until 9pm). Malherbe also owns the shopfront next door and has plans to open a wine shop down the track.
Long after she flew the coop, this local lass is back to bring something refreshing to the Hampton strip.
Sebastian’s Food & Wine
303 Hampton Street, Hampton
Fri & Sat 7am–9pm