It was an incredibly sad day when iconic St Kilda venue Stokehouse burned down in 2014. Now, after a three-year hiatus, it's finally back, renovated and designated into a 'precinct' of multiple bars and restaurants, set to dominate that seaside like only Stokehouse can.
Over the past few months, the Van Haandel Group have opened the first two stages of the beachside precinct. Fish and chip kiosk Paper Fish was first back in October, followed by ground floor venue Pontoon in mid-November. But while the 400-capacity casual beachside bar and eatery was an exciting opening, it was certainly no match for the hardcore anticipation that has surrounded the relaunch of the one and only Stokehouse Restaurant, which finally opened in December 2016.
The new building has been designed by architect Robert Simeoni which, as well as having a five Green Star rating for sustainability, looks pretty epic due to half of it being covered by a sand dune. After doing a stellar job on Stokehouse's previous 2010 refurbishment, Pascale Gomes McNabb has returned to fit out the new restaurant space, which will include a 12.5-metre oval bar and room for 130 diners. Chef Ollie Hansford is on the pans, who you might have heard of from his stint at the short-lived Stokehouse City.
By Lauren Vadnjal and Imogen Baker. Images: Emily Weaving.