At the corner of Acland and Fawkner Streets in St Kilda, Good Love owners Samantha Schreuder and Dylan Thomas have taken over what was formerly The Nelson Rum Bar.
Up until a fire ripped through Fitzroy’s Bimbo Deluxe in May this year, Samantha was the entertainment coordinator, and Dylan the venue manager. While Colonial Leisure Group (also Lucky Coq, Half Moon, The Penny Black) rebuild the Brunswick Street institution, the pair decided to open a late night eatery with an environmental conscience.
“We don’t want to eat our friends,” Schreuder says. “But I think it’s also more about the sustainability of the planet.”
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On the all-vegan menu, you’ll find a Philadelphia cheesesteak with pulled jackfruit and liquid cheese on a brioche bun, “deceitballs” (meatballs with a rich Napoli sauce and two types of vegan cheese), mac’n’cheese with cashew parmesan, and a halal snack pack with vegan mince made from walnuts, mushrooms, broad beans and eggplant, and spicy garlic and roast capsicum sauces.
“A lot of flavour comes from spice, seasoning, cooking techniques, and sauces,” Schreuder says of the meat and dairy free menu by chef Christina Gore.
As at Bimbo and Lucky Coq, there are $5 pizzas (with bases made using fresh beetroot juice). Takeaway lunches are on rotation, packaged in a Good Love drawstring bag.
House-infused spirits feature heavily on the drinks list, which includes cucumber gin with chamomile and ginger beer; shiraz sangria with orange liqueur and brandy; and an old fashioned made with caramalised date and clove whisky.
There’s also Proud Mary coffee, fresh juices and a small selection of Aussie wines.
The bones of The Nelson remain, including the 14-seat communal table, stripped back walls, recycled leather upholstered seating and repurposed Docklands Pier wooden pillars. New is a coat of pink paint, a triangular bench on the terrace, and an abundance of Gumtree-sourced greenery Schreuder says come “from a lady who actually rescues dying plants and resurrects them.”
The couple lives in the north, but often visit St Kilda’s skate park, and say the area felt like the perfect spot for their eatery.
“The vibe in St Kilda when the sun is out and the weather’s good, I think it’s incomparable to anywhere in Melbourne,” Schreuder says.
56 Acland Street, St Kilda
Tues to Thursday 11am–11pm