Guidebook Stokehouse: comfort by the sea

Best eating in town

Stokehouse: comfort by the sea

A Melbourne culinary institution, Stokehouse burned down in 2014. When it re-opened three years later there was an "if it ain't broke" kind of feeling with the new iteration, says Michael Harden in Gourmet Traveller - it belongs to the genre of restaurants that "feel like clubhouses, focused on a particular tribe and as much about the sociable act of dining out as they are about filling the belly. A well-rounded dining scene needs these joints," he adds.

The Stokehouse is "the closest Melbourne comes to the views of Sydney's Icebergs or the celebrity of Los Angeles' Dan Tana's," writes Gemima Cody in Good Food. It's a place with "unimpeachable strikes of deliciousness," she says: "Ruby tuna, lightly torched on one bubbled edge with a light wasabi syllabub and pickled radish … meaty slabs of kingfish are simply dressed with pops of finger lime … cheesy parmesan sticks that eat like Cheez-Its, for swiping through moussy creme fraiche … "poached marron and delicate pickled sweet peas doing a little dance … "

The affable, professional service is still there, writes John Lethlean in The Weekend Australian Magazine. And as for the food, Stokehouse knows exactly what it's doing, who it's doing it for … sunny, confident, thought-through; youthful and fresh enough to be hip, not so young as to be tragic." You won't marvel at radical thinking, says Lethlean, but you should be very, very happy with what you taste and experience. "The pitch is straight to the glove," all topped off with the Stokehouse signature dessert The Bombe - "sponge, white choc parfait, strawberry sorbet, torched Italian meringue, macerated strawberry slices: a classic that is better than it has ever been, by which I mean utterly brilliant." This phoenix, he adds, "sure has wings."

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