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St Kilda, Melbourne - casual suggestions

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Jump on a tram. Sit for five minutes. The MoVidas, Cumulus Inc, Chin Chin, Pei Modern, Mamasita, etc.

Good to great--and decent value--meals. Avoid the tourist trap of St Kilda's pastry strip. A shortish car trip will also get you to Attica and Jacques Reymond, both a couple of suburbs over. Local Taphouse if you like beer. Slightly longer trip, 'round the CBD, will get you to Cutler & Co, Embrasse, La Luna, etc.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org


I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Welcome to Melbourne! Where are you moving here from?

My favourite casual lunch place in St Kilda would have to be Golden Fields. Andrew McConnell owns this place - same chef/owner of Cutler and Cumulus. As you would expect, the food focuses on great produce, simply cooked, with sometimes unusual and innovative combinations. It is a little pricey, and there are no reservations. So it is really not good for a family of 4 with young kids unless you turn up at an off-peak time - say Monday lunchtime. If you try to go in the evenings, the place is usually rocking and is definitely NOT kid friendly.

There's also Republica. It is at the St. Kilda Sea Baths, i.e. right by the beach. In summer you can enjoy the view of girls in bikinis walking past as well as

. The food is a little on the pricey side but worth it. Nothing innovative here, just well executed food.

You could also go to Barney Allen's, which belongs to Iain Hewitson - the fat, wheezing "Huey" TV chef who appears on morning TV and suggests you open tins of canned fruit to make dessert. Yes, that guy. I was a little skeptical but the food in this place is not bad. The place is more of a pub, so try to go at off peak times.

Cafe Vue is a little further up the road. It is Shannon Bennett's cafe venture. The bread, and especially the brioche is magnificent. Also try the pies and the other pastries. The place is absolutely packed every time I go.

Lau's Family Kitchen is in the "unfashionable" end of Acland St. Yes it's Chinese food, but the owner is the son of the former owner of Flower Drum - which was consistently rated the best Chinese restaurant in Melbourne. The aim of this restaurant is far more modest - serving good Chinese food at lower prices. The food is VERY good, but unfortunately it is usually VERY packed.

I believe that Philippa Sibley (the dessert queen) has reopened a new restaurant in St. Kilda, but i'm not sure where it is. When we ate at her old restaurant, the savoury dishes were a little "meh" but the desserts were to die for. Really complicated desserts that you would expect to see in a high end restaurant, and not some cafe in St. Kilda. If you picture the menu - quiche, or hamburgers for your dinner - followed by dessert which might be a deconstructed snickers bar with salted caramel parfait, candied peanuts, chocolate ice-cream, etc and you might see why the restaurant didn't do too well.

Edited by Keith_W (log)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Ha- FWIW it looks like that video was shot in front of the Stokehouse, which is something of a St Kilda institution. There's casual dining downstairs, formal dining upstairs - it's pretty nice to have lunch on the beach when the weather is fine. It gets packed on weekends but if you're a local and able to wander down during the week then it's worth checking out. I took some friends there who were over from England and it just happened to be a day with perfect weather and only a few people there- they were absolutely blown away with being able to eat on the beach like that - postcard material.

A google search revealed that the Phillipa Sibley restaurant is in Brunswick, which is a decent trek from St. Kilda. However I do have a recollection of her opening something in South Melbourne, but I may have been confused by an article in Gourmet Traveller about the place she worked at 10 years ago.

If South Melbourne doesn't worry you, then one of my favourite restaurants was Misuzu, which sadly burnt down. They promptly re-opened it but I haven't lived in Melbourne for 7 years so I don't know if it's the same or not but it was definitely cheap, casual and full of locals. Their salad platters were so simple yet so amazing - I hope they still do them.

I agree with Chris that the famous cake shops along Acland Street are over-rated, save your money and go to Brunetti's in Carlton.

When I was a student - and that was a long time ago - Topolino's pizza on Fitzroy Street was a regular port of call. No frills pizza at any time of the night, good value for money - but who knows how it's changed since then...

I would suggest that the places Chris has mentioned are great but they don't really fit my idea of 'casual' dining - for me they'd all be a special night out. One place to add to the suggestions of more high-end places is Mirka, which is relatively new. I was treated to lunch there last year and was very impressed - some of the tastiest food I've had for a long time. But considering the prices (unless someone else is paying) it's probably for special occasions only...

Edited by ChrisZ (log)
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It occurred to me that if you're new to Melbourne, you might be interested in this thread from earlier in the year. I just re-read it and it's full of great suggestions.

Yes, I got a lot of great tips from there!

We've been to some great places but haven't really been around St. Kilda much. It's one of those neighborhoods that we have line up to check out one weekend. I'll keep the suggestions her in mind. Golden Fields is definitely on my radar.

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