Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant
When Melbourne’s nice, it’s real nice. But the second it finds a bit of a rain and a gust of wind…it ain’t so much. As winter starts making itself more and more known, the nights are frostier, wetter and terribly uninviting. You can’t blame Melbournians for not wanting to leave the house.
However, one very wet and cold night I still found myself heading out to Saint Lucia, and I couldn’t ask for a better shelter from the storm.
Bar? Restaurant? More like house. More like living room even, where Bean, the family dog, comes over to say hi (literally!)
Saint Lucia is beautifully bohemian, a discerning mix of summery greens and rattan furniture, romantically lit with dimmed lights and well loved candles; inspired by owners, and husband and wife, Charlie and Steph’s travels around the world…but in particular the Caribbean, Cuba and Southern America.
Settled in with a glass of red wine (Melbourne’s wintery weather doesn’t always inspire the mood for mojito or other delightful rum based cocktail…but maybe another time), the menu of nibbles is small enough you can almost get a bit of everything, but too big that you can’t and have to make some tough decisions!
Smokey roasted cauliflower with creole remoulade sauce for $6 is an amazing value and absolutely delicious nibble to start a meal. What’s not to love about the sweetness of the cauliflower mixed with a bit of savoury smokiness? Very, very moreish.
Also very moreish, are the fried plantains with paprika salt. Shaped like a banana, plantains are much more savoury, and are fried to crunchy perfection and served with a chipotle mayo that’s got some serious punch and kick. Even though it was cold outside, the heat’s on in Saint Lucia!
When it comes to the bigger eats, I’m torn between all of the proteins. Although fried chicken calls out my name, we instead opt for the smoked caramelised beef brisket with house barbecue sauce, which has a lovely unexpected heat and a lovely texture, not too dry and not too fatty, and the low and slow maple chilli pork ribs, smoked for 4 hours of hickory and apple wood, which I just savour pulling off the bone. I adore the pickles served with the pork ribs which are punchy and bright, perfectly cutting through the richness of the meat.
Not gonna lie though, I was most excited for dessert (as I usually tend to be). The ‘milk + cookies’ dessert takes the Dominique Ansel ‘cookie shot’ to the next level.
Hazelnut dark chocolate chip cookie ‘cup’, lined with dark chocolate, and filled to the brim with peanut butter mousse and dulce leche. Um. Yes.
The cookie cup is far bigger than I expect it to be, and is definitely best shared between two people. The cookie is a bit hard to break into, but the flavours and combination of cold peanut butter mousse and cookie are simply to die for.
We also make ours ‘R rated’ with a bit of rum mousse as well. Lush.
Saint Lucia is a stunningly intimate space, in an area that’s becoming super trendy and too cool for school, it’s nice to have a little refuge where you can feel like you can kick back and really just chill out. With delicious Carribean food. Please have plantain chips become a thing Melbourne. Please.
78 Chapel Street