For 40 years, the Anchorage restaurant manned the water's edge in Williamstown.
"Having lived in the south my entire life, I had no idea what Williamstown was about and didn't really know what I was getting into," says Roberto Scheriani, formerly of The Italian, now owner of Pier Farm, the new restaurant occupying the site. "It’s beautiful here, we are right on the water.”
Pier Farm has its own small pier into Port Phillip Bay, with Melbourne’s skyline rising in the distance. The restaurant has retained most of the Anchorage’s fit-out: it’s maritime in spirit, with timber decking; sail-like awnings; porthole windows; and a mast stretching into the sky from the rooftop.
“Pier Farm is an ongoing project – the land belongs to Parks Victoria, so we can’t develop the whole site at once,” Scheriani says. "Through the course of next year we are going to continue renovating parts of the restaurant, including the kitchen and main dining space.”
While some marine-style fixtures remain, he’s taken out – where possible – “anything that was nautical themed”, instead filling the space with simple, modern furniture and hints of greenery.
Scheriani has enlisted Italian-born Matteo Bartaletti (previously of North Bondi Italian Food, Movida) as head chef. His menu is filled with Mediterranean flavours and inspired by the restaurant’s waterfront location. The emphasis here is seafood, with dishes including Spanish Cantabrico anchovies with whipped butter and a parsley salad; a carpaccio of cured flounder with a verjus dressing; and pan-fried John Dory with pippies, capers and cherry tomatoes.
Where there’s an Italian, there is of course pasta, and at Pier Farm that includes a handmade black truffle ravioli topped with veal ragout. But it’s the vegetarian pasta Scheriani is hooked on.
“I’ve been living on the trofie pasta with green beans and pesto for the last three weeks,” he says.
There are dishes from the land too, including a grass-fed rib-eye with pickled mushrooms and shallots.
Scheriani’s friend and sommelier George Haralambopoulous has put together a 140-strong wine list of local and international bottles.
34 The Strand, Williamstown
(03) 9397 7799
Tues to Sun 12pm–late
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