As a little bit more life is injected back into the beautiful bayside location of Fitzroy Street, there are a whole bunch of reasons to trot over to St Kilda for the day, evening or a celebratory dinner. One of these reasons is the recent arrival of St. Luja, a smoke-fusion restaurant with classic cocktails and those with a bit of a twist.
Run by a team of Melbourne hospitality veterans, St. Luja is certainly not their first rodeo. Owned by ex-Publican Group and Red Rock Leisure guys, Luke Jovanovski and James Murphy, St. Luja is well seasoned in all aspects of its ownership. Top off the team with the killer kitchen and drinks combo of Head Chef, Allison Hartmire (State of Grace) and Head Bartender, Jesse Cummins (Fall From Grace) and you have what is already proving to be a very successful establishment.
St. Luja is unique in the sense that it is combining classic cocktails with a late-night kitchen that produces exciting, well thought out dishes. From Allison and her team in the kitchen, diners can expect smoke-fusion dishes such as Robbins Island Wagyu carpaccio topped with a 62-degree egg yolk, and hearty mains of Cape Grim beef short rib with cauliflower puree, charred baby onion, corn bread crumble and a sticky maple jus.
Complete any meal with a spin on one of the classics such as the Banoffee pie – consisting of banana parfait, coffee foam, candied banana, charred meringue Toffee sable biscuit.
When it comes to drinks, St. Luja has a rather extensive cocktail list, combining a range of flavours and tipples to satisfy whatever your taste may be. You’ll find a selection of the classics, some of Jesse’s own fruity, tropical or sour creations, as well as a section titled ‘short & stiff’ and one completely dedicated to his own personal twists on the much loved negroni.
Topping off this well tailored experience is St. Luja’s monthly themed degustation dinners. One of Allison’s many talents in the kitchen lies in designing approachable and delicious degustation menus. Her creative dishes look to awe and impress guests, whilst keeping them at ease with the numerous plates appearing in front of them. This experience is made all the more special by a selection of cocktails that her and Jesse carefully pair with each dish.
Bringing the cool back to Melbourne’s original bayside dining destination, St. Luja is the perfect reason to jump on the 96 tram and head out of the city. Watching the sunset over St Kilda beach whilst sipping on a cocktail at a St. Luja degustation night is soon to become an iconic experience in itself, so be sure to jump on the bandwagon to avoid missing out.