Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest
The last time I was at the St. Hotel in St Kilda, the gorgeous old building (which has been in the neighbourhood since 1915) was packed rafter to rafter with people, lining up for Asian bites from St Hotel and a range of other restaurants as an event.
Although it was fun, it was hectic, so when I had an opportunity to revisit the St. Hotel to try their new European bar and dining menu, I was certainly keen to check out what head chef Ben Isaacs had to offer.
The St. Hotel is so Melbourne when you walk in, retaining a lot of the old world charm - rough brick walls, and accented with new timber floor finishes, polished concrete and black steel. Rather than one big open space, the restaurant/bar is an array of dining spaces so if you want to grab a quick drink you can, or if you want to sit in a cosy corner with a date…you can do that too.
Or if you want to have dinner with 20 other bloggers, that’s totally doable too!
The ‘bite me’ neon has to be one of my favourite pieces of neon in Melbourne - talk about getting straight to the point!
We started with an array of nibbles, with the crumbed pacific oysters with tartare sauce and lemon the first to come out. Although usually I do favour my oysters natural, these were done exceptionally well. Golden, and crispy batter beautifully protected the juicy and sweet meat inside which exploded into a delicious textural delight.
Smoked ocean trout rilles and Yarra Valley caviar on rye crisp were also vibrant and bright in flavour - I adore trout - and the rye crisps were crispy as advertised and the parmesan gougeres with truffled gruyere sauce were to die for. Light choux style pastry on the outside, stuffed full with cheese goodness on the inside - I was definitely eyeing the plate to see if there were an extras left behind…
Our wines this evening were selected and matched by Red + White - one of my favourite wines for the night had to be this La la Land Pinot Gris - so fruity and bright.
Our next dish, would could have been our main for it’s heft in flavour and weight, was the wood roasted jamon wrapped buffalo mozzarella with mild mushrooms and bitter leaves. Woah. Big plate. One of these each. Totally okay with this! The mozzarella was creamy, and deliciously oozy from being roasted - on a cold night, was there anything better really?
For our mains, we shared (fortunately) a couple of plates. The wood roasted chateaubriand served a la bourguigononne style was a winner with the group. It can definitely be tough to get red meat right for a big group, but St. Hotel delivered the most tender and perfectly cooked piece of meat we could ever ask for. It just melted in the mouth.
I was a little less excited by the wood BBQ wild barramundi with wild mushrooms, burnt butter and sage - I’m personally just not a huge fan of barramundi - but I did not stop picking at the pine mushrooms that came with the dish. Meaty and just a match made in heaven with the burnt butter.
Cauliflower and gruyere mac and cheese is everything you want it to be. Need I say more?
To finish our evening, we all enjoy an elderflower panna cotta with blueberries and lemon - which I just adore. After a big meal, the dessert was light and refreshing. A lovely mix of textures from the crumbly meringue to the soft and creamy panna cotta. Well balanced - one that even Brad finished!
I’m definitely selective when it comes to dinner, more so because I want to make sure Brad will enjoy the food as well. St Hotel ticked all the boxes for me and my man for hearty, filling and just really well executed dishes. Although I’m not ever really in St Kilda, St. Hotel will definitely be on my list to recommend that side of town!
54 Fitzroy Street