Melbourne is a city with a lot of options. It is a foodie paradise filled with coffee drinking hipsters, pop-up cafés, and a stream of food festivals and hidden bars.
Being still relatively new to the city, I am keen to explore the vast sea of cafés, restaurants and bars. So keen in fact, that my housemate and I have a spreadsheet to keep track of things to do, places we’ve been, and places we want to go. But that’s a story for another day!
When asked to visit Stokehouse City, naturally I asked around at work to get some thoughts. And those I spoke to had good things to say.
Apparently quite the Melbourne institution, Stokehouse City used to reside seaside, on the shores of St Kilda. In 2014 however, disaster struck, and fire ravaged the building. While the building is being rebuilt and the restaurant reinstated in its original iconic location, it has taken up residence in Alfred Place in the CBD. With the more relaxed Stoke Bar + Kitchen downstairs, and the Stokehouse City Restaurant upstairs, it covers all bases.
There is also alfresco dining in the narrow laneway, something I’m sure will be lovely come summer. It could be a while though, until it is warm enough. Why you so cold for Melbourne?!
To start the evening off, we opt for some crispy chicken skin and a couple of sneaky glasses of Pinot – what better way to warm up? The charcuterie, piccalilli and toasted bread platter ($15) is the perfect accompaniment to some red. What is piccalilli you ask (apart from being a dyslexic person’s nightmare)? A relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices, that pairs nicely with some toasted bread, that’s what.
At this point I should probably confess something. I think I have a burger addiction. I’m surrounded by them; with an array of burger options just around the corner from my house, and near my work. I can’t myself! So naturally, I had to go with the Stoke Burger ($18) for a main, a mouth – watering combination of beef, pickles, pancetta and truffled béchamel. Nothing beats a big juicy patty, tangy pickles and cheesy goodness. We also went with the Prosciutto San Daniele and Rocket pizzetta ($15), because apparently I have a thing for melted cheese and cured meats too. The pizzetta is a good option if you just feel like something simple, yet tasty.
After all this, you might not be feeling like dessert (speak for yourself, I still do). But disregard this feeling. Because the Banoffee Pie ($15) is something worth tipping your stomach over the edge for. This Banoffee is presented a little differently to your traditional pie. Instead of a biscuit base, it starts with a layer of thick caramel and banana in a sundae tin, piled with creme chantilly and layered with crumbled biscuit on top. Plus, despite the rich caramel, the cream and banana gives it an airy, light feel that won’t actually overload you.
While the venue has changed, aspects of the former Stokehouse still remain, and in a convenient CBD location. The casual dining space has a laid back vibe for some Friday night eats or a drink or two, and the upstairs dining room if you want to get a bit fancier.
Stoke Bar + Kitchen
7 Alfred Place, Melbourne, VIC
Phone: (03) 9525 5555
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Stoke Bar + Kitchen