When its original incarnation burned down at the beginning of 2014, Melbourne’s diners went into mourning. Thankfully, Stokehouse’s owner Frank Van Haandel saw the misfortune as an opportunity to create a new dining destination that offered even more to the locals and visitors who flocked for its fine food and bayside setting.
Three years later, the new outpost, designed by architect Robert Simeoni, has reopened to feature a fish and chip kiosk, Paper Fish, and Pontoon, a casual grill – both outfitted by interior architect George Livissianis – at sand level, while upstairs, the Stokehouse restaurant is the last piece in the gourmet puzzle.
Dressed by designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb, the restaurant epitomises the laid-back charm of its location overlooking Port Phillip Bay. Gauzy drapes catch the breeze, light grey-blue chairs and banquettes mirror the tones of the water and sky outside, and a long bar makes the best of both worlds, straddling dining room and outdoor terrace.
Chef Ollie Hansford oversees the kitchen, where the emphasis is on seafood. Seasonal dishes, including poached marron with finger lime cream, seared tuna with wasabi syllabub and torched sardine on rye croute with chilli emulsion, ensure those who’ve always loved Stokehouse will keep coming back for more.