St Kilda restaurant Stokehouse is known for startlingly fresh seafood, stunning views of Port Phillip Bay and Mark Douglass Design’s ceiling installation, made up of 2000 glass tubes frosted in a blush pink. The classy waterfront restaurant first opened in 1989, was destroyed by fire in 2014 and then reopened in 2016.
Head upstairs to find the refined dining room, which was designed by Pascale Gomes-McNabb. It’s fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows all the way around, so there’ll be uninterrupted views from wherever you sit. Reservations are recommended, but there’s a 12-and-a-half-metre oval bar that’s open to walk-ins for drinks and food.
The restaurant works extensively with seafood, in line with its seaside location. The raw section of the menu takes in oysters; a yellowfin tuna belly and melon bite; and an oscietra caviar bump. Mains include local rock flathead with spaghetti squash and fish collar ’nduja; wild barramundi with celtuce, barigoule sauce and pickled dill blossom; and Black Angus beef with leeks, fluffy mashed potato, smoked bordelaise and seaweed mustard. Service and presentation are sharp.
On the drinks side, there’s a big enough range of beer, cocktails and spirits to please nearly everyone. In recognition of the clientele, the 650-bottle wine selection is mostly traditional, drawn from classic old-world regions such as Burgundy or Chablis; and local regions such as McClaren Vale.
Downstairs, its casual counterpart Stokehouse Pasta & Bar serves up an easy-breezy menu centred around pasta. It’s led by owner Frank van Haandel’s sons Hugh and Pete, and takes inspiration from European dishes and dining.
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