St. Cloud Eating House
James Klapanis (former owner of Quaff restaurant in Toorak) opened St. Cloud Eating House in what was a defunct bedding store. It is now a two-storey Vietnamese restaurant with a team that includes Franky Pham and Shaunn Anderson from Feast of Merit’s kitchen and front-of-house teams respectively.
Aside from some festoon lighting and shelves stacked with Asian condiments, you wouldn’t know the space (designed by Therefore Studio and interior stylist Elle Critchley) was a Vietnamese restaurant.
Dishes include pipis in broth spiked with lemongrass and mains such as barbequed market fish with ginger nuoc mam. Other plates are less obviously Vietnamese but equally as delicious: barbequed scallops with lap xuong (Chinese sausage) and caramel chicken wings with cubes of sticky rice, burnt onion, pickled ginger and herbs. There’s a set menu for $55 per head and lunch is also a steal with mains, bánh mì and salads at $8 each.
There’s craft beer, a short wine list with options by the glass and cocktails that work in Asian ingredients such as Thai basil, fresh ginger and bean-curd jelly. The Viet Express with maple brandy and coconut walnut foam is an interesting flip on the Vietnamese coffee.