When the sky clears and the stars come out, the craving for Claypots often follows. It starts with dreams of seafood, the outdoors and beer, and progresses rapidly to a state of ravenous desire. Fear not, the ailment is easily addressed with a trip to this St Kilda stalwart.
Since its early days as an unassuming bayside restaurant, Claypots has served up delicious, fresh and varied fare to rival that of any Southeast Asian island. Mussels, oysters, Cajun flathead, garlic king prawns, sticky rice, grilled snapper, chilli crabs, lemon drenched wilted greens and of course, the restaurant's steaming namesake; claypots are all readily available. Dishes are simple and priced according to size. A seasonal meze to begin is the waiter’s surprise – perfect for sharing with a glass of white.
A bar with high stools and bench seating usually features live music. This adjoins the main dining area, which is divided by an open kitchen. While the front is usually quieter, sitting at the back under looming octopus tentacles is quite an experience. This huge art installation is lit from within and hangs from the ceiling above old train booths. There are no reservations here, so expect to find a queue winding through the dimly lit bar. But the space is expansive and the wait isn’t usually too long.
Ideal on a warm night, the outdoor courtyard is a romantic candle-lit enclave, where tiny boats swing from the trees. You can almost smell the sea.