The revamped Stokehouse in a word? Exceptional. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the best food I've ever had - but when you pair quite delicious food with a warm and welcoming ambiance, elegant architecture, reasonable prices, and service fit for a queen, you are bound to have an exceptional experience.
To start with, too many restaurants in Melbourne make you feel as though they are doing you the favour by allowing you to dine at their restaurant. Not the Stokehouse - after rudely arriving half an hour late, instead of being shunned like you'd usually expect from a fine dining restaurant, we were welcomed with a warm smile and informed that we were more than welcome to sit at the bar for a drink before being taken to our table if we needed to wind down. The exceptional service didn't stop there - our drinks were never empty, our food was out in a flash, and all with the familiar friendly banter that you'd expect from the favourite bartender at your local.
The menu is Modern Australian with a large showcase of seafood - including an extensive Raw Bar to start. Whilst everything (well nearly everything) was delicious - each of us had our specific favourites from the menu. Packed full of flavour, the beef short rib wrapped in filo pastry definitely appeared in mine. So too did the sashimi tuna tacos which were fresh, crisp and incredible more-ish.
The Australian beef of the day was cooked to perfection, and the sides of roasted broccoli and the grain salad were the perfect accompaniments.
The only dissapointing dish of the night was the prawn and bug cannelloni with pumpkin and saffron, and fermented chilli. How can such an incredible sounding dish go so wrong I hear you ask. Unfortunately it did - it was bland, dry and tasted very fishy.
In my view, ice cream is a completely underrated desert - thank you Stokehouse for recognising this and putting an ice cream of the day on your menu. That being said, The Bombe (White chocolate parfait, strawberry sorbet and toasted meringue) and the White Chocolate Rose (Yoghurt mousse, white chocolate shaving, yuzu gelato and rose petals) also looked delicious and will definitely making a feature on my next dining experience.
It's exceptional dining experiences like these that made me want to be a food blogger - which is why the Stokehouse has earned the title of the new fave.
Verdict: The New Fave - put it as number one on the To Do list