Pipis is not your average seaside kiosk. Sure, there’s a takeaway window where you can find topnotch classics such as fish’n’chips and potato cakes, as well as fish burgers, ice-creams, coffee and juices to enjoy on the sand.
Yet inside, you’ll find a relaxed yet elegant restaurant with huge windows, soaring ceilings and unobstructed ocean views. Its seasonal menu changes every few weeks. You might find starters such as Koo Wee Rup asparagus with whipped tarama and Buddha’s hand (fingered citron) preserve, or sweet-and-sour globe artichoke with stracciatella, and mains such as west Victorian lamb rack or whole-grilled New Zealand flounder. A mainstay, though, is the Pipis Pasta: bucatini with Goolwa pippies, smoked tomato and pernod (anise-flavoured liqueur). Chef and co-owner Jordan Clay smokes the tomatoes overnight on the grill, over a very low heat.
Drinks-wise, co-owner Tom Hunter wanted to hero Australian wines. So, the list features mostly small, local producers from cool-climate regions: the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley and a smattering from WA and Tassie. International drops get a look in, too, and might be a rosé from Provence or a crisp prosecco.
The beers on tap rotate to showcase craft producers like Hop Nation and Moon Dog, and the spirits are mostly Australian.
The space is relaxed yet elegant. Whether the sea is flat, the sky azure and the sand swarming or the complete opposite – crashing waves, stormy weather and no one around – it’s an excellent vantage point. The neutral, white-walled dining room seats 40 on its light-coloured tables and rattan chairs, and another 50 outside – so dogs and sandy feet are very much welcome.
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