You’ve probably noticed that everything hip that is happening is in Fitzroy, Collingwood or the CBD. And perhaps Northcote or Yarraville.
People are also doing things in St Kilda and somebody has to tell the story.
It would probably be very much like the St Hotel, the reimagined Saint nightclub in St Kilda, which is almost finished and may open very soon.
Last week 700 or so local riffraff, venue owners, girls, boys, girls who are boys, girls looking for boys (and daddies) packed in for the opening of the new multi level venue; on the ground floor a Chin Chin leaning Asian restaurant and bar; a club and private members lounge upstairs.
The look is concrete, dark steel window frames and raw ply. At least I think the look is raw plywood panels. It may just be that part isn’t finished yet.
The central atrium hangs over the restaurant and provides a glassed in balcony for clubbers and VIPs.
Upstairs there’s a nifty machine with lockers where you can recharge your phone after a long night on the town.
As soon as it’s open properly I’ll report back on the food.
The good news is that the food has improved and the booze is cheap. The bad news is that the room is still badly in need of a good clean-up.
The pasta portions are huge and cost under $20. They are tasty and filling – I could barely finish my bowl – but nothing worth crossing town for.
The new manager, Lachlan Sleeman who was last seen in Melbourne running the London in Port Melbourne, has put Estrella on tap and red, white and pink Dal Zotto wines from the King Valley. At under $30 for the equivalent of a bottle, you can’t argue with that.
The usual local personalities and colourful characters are back. But in attracting the new upmarket generation of St Kilda locals the Dog’s Bar now has competition.
What was once Slow Down at Harley Court, and prior to that the local favourite cafe Spuntino, is now The Nelson an exciting new arrival to St Kilda.
What the new owners have done is taken a dark dungeon of a room, which was always awkward, and turned it into a light airy space that people want to be in.
The design, by Techne, uses recycled timber from wharves in Docklands creating a combined central bar and shared table. At 2 metres there is a watermark creating a nautical vibe, and below that walls are supposedly distressed by the tide.
The idea is a rum bar with 35 different varieties and some pretty decent cocktails and beers. The wine list is okay and the food menu is developing.
The whole marinated BBQ’d fish for $29 is cooked well and is amazingly good value – as are the chunky rosemary potatoes ($9) and the beetroot salad ($9). The seafood paella at $27 is also good but felt expensive for its size.
I was there last night with the neighbours. And I’ll be in The Nelson a lot and look forward to seeing how they develop.
If you were going to open a tapas joint 5 hours down the coast this is what it may look like. As my neighbour said: “I looked inside and didn’t like it and didn’t go in”.
Lona is the St Kilda cousin of the Armadale pinxtos joint of the same name. It brings with it a suburban vibe and playlist, which unfortunately is played loudly in the street.
The pinxtos are cheap and are available at $1 each to anyone who signs-up to Club Lona. My impression is that the are more about the scheme rather than any kind of culinary innovation.
The wine list starts at $5.50 and cheap drinks seem to be the go for the crowd which appears to have the same suburban pedigree as the venue.
Yes, Korean fried chicken has arrived in the space once occupied by Worksense hair salon. The service area in the front and kitchen in the back are designed to look like bright yellow shipping containers.
The chicken is precisely as described on the menu and is the drawcard. The sous vide chips are not.
Dr Jekyll providor
With the arrival of the Dr Jekyll providor, selling various goods and pre-cooked pies, lasagnas etc for takeaway, the cafe’s kitchen has moved into what was the awful Base Pizza. It means the cafe now has a proper kitchen and can be more ambitious with its food.
They’ve applied for a liquor license and the hope is this will become a good value local wine bar in the evenings.
Meanwhile, these guys make the best coffee in St Kilda with their own blends from Clark St roasters. Come summer cold drip is on tap.
I’m hoping in the summer evenings they’ll do a wicked espresso martini.