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Stokehouse Pasta & Bar Is the New Euro-Accented All-Day Eatery in the Former Pontoon Digs

Seaside snacks, crab spaghetti and $79 bottles of vino — meet the latest incarnation of this sun-drenched St Kilda spot.
By Libby Curran
November 21, 2022
By Libby Curran
November 21, 2022

It's the end of an era for a St Kilda beachside favourite, though its next phase of existence is already looking very promising, indeed. After it was announced last month that Pontoon, the downstairs beach club component of the Stokehouse precinct, would be reborn with a fresh look and a new name, that next incarnation has officially opened its doors.

Introducing, Stokehouse Pasta & Bar — the suburb's new laidback, all-day spot for Mediterranean eats and beachside sips. Hugh and Pete van Haandel, sons of Stokehouse precinct owner Frank van Haandel, are steering the venue's latest guise, built around a pasta-heavy food offering that fuses European flavours with Aussie flair.

The space is showing off a fresh makeover, now with breezier coastal-inspired interiors and timber finishes played against the backdrop of sand and sea. There's been a strong focus on sustainability, too, in keeping with the precinct's 5-Star 'Australian Excellence' Green Star Design & As Built Rating, as awarded earlier this year.

Food is led by Stokehouse Executive Chef Jason Staudt and Stokehouse Pasta & Bar's newly appointed Head Chef Brendan Anderson, bearing similar DNA to the restaurant above, yet with a much more casual lean.

It's primed for seaside snacking sessions, with the likes of white anchovy and olive gildas, king prawns with nduja, cod croquettes, and a mixed salumi plate kicking off the menu. Move into pasta territory for plates like cacio e pepe gnocchi, a crab and chilli spaghetti, and orecchiette spiked with anchovy and broccoli; or dive into mains like the classic fish and chips, or a veal schnitty.

Groups are sorted with a couple of hefty shared options, too — think, a 600-gram whole Murray cod with peperonata, or a giant rib-eye paired with gremolata. And star Group Pastry Chef Ash Smith is putting on a show for dessert, with the likes of lemon and coconut panna cotta, and a tiramisu reimagined as a bombe alaska.

Weekly specials are set to encourage many a return visit, from the $30 weekday express lunch menu, to $24 seafood dishes for Fish Night Tuesdays.

Also out to save you some coin is Stokehouse Pasta & Bar's wine list, where all bottles clock in at $79 a pop. The lineup trips from Australia to Europe, with pours to suit palates both simple and adventurous; while a tidy list of cocktails spans from the classics to signature offerings like the Stokehouse Spritz — a delicate blend of Amaro, orange, white peach and jasmine soda.

Find Stokehouse Pasta & Bar at 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda. It's open daily from 12pm till late.

Images: Interiors by Tom Blachford, Food and Drink by Arianna Leggiero.

Published on November 21, 2022 by Libby Curran
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