But the recently opened LOTI is adding a touch of contemporary sophistication to the coastal Melbourne suburb.
With sleek modern interiors, ocean views and innovative fare, LOTI is the cool new kid on the block.
Head chef Elijah Holland (Lume, NOMA Australia, Aria, Quay) brings to LOTI his interpretation of food cooked over fire, and strives to make everything from scratch.
Ancient techniques of fermentation, preserving and curing are on show, as are fresh ingredients served in their purest form.
“My menu is inspired by nature, the coast and history of St Kilda,” he says.
“We are visiting local producers weekly, foraging centuries-old wild, native and naturalised botanical and using new-age cooking techniques to form seasonal and approachable dishes that are packed full of flavour and hero our Victorian produce.”
The Mediterranean-influenced menu is full of intrigue. If you arrive especially hungry, the Chef’s ‘Feed Me’ Menu – comprising eight dishes, or nine with dessert – is highly recommended.
Highlights of the ‘Feed Me’ menu include the house-made charcuterie collection, with an unexpected yet delicious cured meat selection; the ‘ice rink’ red emperor ceviche, with its playful touch of theatre thanks to a solid disk of fish stock which is broken up with a spoon and mixed through the dish; and the oh-so-tender aged Wagyu grass-fed MB2+ scotch fillet.
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Special mention must go to the russet potato chips with kelp salt and vinegar – after all, what could be better than hot, thick-cut, hand-made chips?
Meanwhile, the drinks list is equally stirring, having been curated in collaboration with bartenders from drinks agency Sweet&Chilli, overseen by co-owner Cameron Northway.
Be sure to start or end your meal with a cocktail from the menu, which includes twists on familiar classics through the use of native herbs, locally made spirits and unique garnishes.
Situated on the site of a former ice rink (LOTI stands for ‘Lady of the Ice’), the interior takes inspiration from the seaside topography of its location.
Melbourne-based interior architecture and design studio Mitchell & Eades has created a calming space with neutral tones and curved lines throughout, resulting in a dining room that’s modern yet inviting.
Between a stylish setting with sea views, fabulous cocktails and moreish cuisine, LOTI begs you to settle in and while away the afternoon or evening.