Pontoon – the casual, downstairs grill restaurant that marks phase two of the rebuilt Stokehouse St Kilda – opens this Saturday.
While its adjoining fish-and-chip kiosk, Paper Fish, was just a taste of the new Stokehouse, Pontoon is a much bigger operation. An 18-metre bar is the venue’s main focus. It serves 12 beers on tap, beachy cocktails (think plenty of fresh watermelon, mint and pineapple) and frosé.
“We’re doing grilled market fish with chermoula and lemon; lamb shoulder; smoked chickens; hot chicken ribs; baby-back ribs … our whole menu is inspired by the Mediterranean, and food you can share and eat with your hands,” he says.
Like Stokehouse Cafe (what the downstairs restaurant was called before a fire burned down the complex in January 2014), Pontoon is the relaxed counterpart to upstairs fine-diner, Stokehouse (reopening December 6).
“We’ve given it a bit of an edge and made it a bit sexier than it was before,” says Cameron. “But we want to keep it separate from upstairs. Upstairs will be more intricate, but we really want to keep Pontoon simple and approachable.”