With the new Stokehouse City Restaurant opening just a few short months ago, it was time to finally check it out. I never got the chance to visit the St Kilda restaurant before it burnt down, so definitely want to try and get in here to their new location. I was surprised to easily get a last minute booking at 7:30 on a Thursday evening.
Located in the old Comme, we booked in at the downstairs section of the restaurant. The feel was a casual bar and eatery with tables extremely close together and some unique furnishings filling the space.
The bar was probably the focal point of the space featuring a dark bar base and a funky wooden fixture covering the wine and spirit bottles. Unfortunately the rest of the furniture in the restaurant really didn’t match the Victorian style walls and ceiling, and the hanging lights were an eye sore.
The overall atmosphere of the space seemed to be quite confusing and the space really had no real vibe.
After trying to figure out what type of vibe the restaurant was giving off, we decided to look at the menu to really see if it was worth all the hype.
Scrolling through the menu, I was yet again confused with a non consistent variety of food. Everything from oysters to kingfish to twice cooked half duckling was featured and then chilli dog and beer battered fish & chips? Very odd menu to say the least.
We decided to go with a variety of shared foods so that we could sample a few different dishes. With a ‘Chilli Dog’ on the menu, we had to give it a try to see how it was. The menu said it was with pickled cabbage, chilli, mustard mayo and cheddar; however there was no chilli flavour to these dogs.
The highlight of the night was the ‘Jerusalem artichoke & goats curd tortelloni’ served with burnt butter, rosemary and sunflower seeds. The group was a bit hesitant to order this as they all wanted meat, meat and more meat, however EVERYONE loved this dish! The flavours were so powerful and had just the right amount of butter to accompany the artichokes. (I could have eaten just this all night!)
From here we had a small break before the more substantial dishes started to arrive. Everyone ordered a different main dish, which we all shared. These consisted of the ‘Roast Chicken & Cos Salad’ served with garlic toast, pickled onion and a beautiful ranch dressing. It was good, however the chicken was quite overcooked and dry.
Next out was the ‘Twice cooked half duckling’ which was served with a beautiful cucumber, orange & chilli salad. It was cooked to perfection with a light crispy skin.
We also ordered the ‘Beer battered King George whiting ‘n’ chips’ with tartare & lemon. The chips were served cold; however the fish was crispy and delicious.
Finally out came the ‘Chargrilled scotch fillet 300G’ which was served with roasted mushrooms, pancetta, mustard marscapone. Another beautiful dish!
No meal is complete without some delicious sides. Instead of going with the typical chips or salad, we decided to order the ‘Sauteed Brussels sprouts’ which were cooked with a honey & thyme butter and double smoked bacon. Amazing!
The service was very attentive and friendly. We were served by a lovely young lady who explained the menu and gave amazing recommendations on what was good to order. Our water glasses were always full and the service of drinks were quick (a bonus!).
Overall, the experience was a so-so for me. After hearing amazing things about the St Kilda location, I thought the city restaurant would blow me away. However with tables so close that your chair hits the table behind you, and a menu that is all over the place, I don’t think I would rate this restaurant at the top of my list unfortunately.