Loti Restaurant glides onto iconic St Kilda site with coastal Aussie flavors
The St Kilda site, once home to the St Moritz ice rink, is now home to a booming apartment complex of the same name, anchored by the recently opened Loti, restaurant and bar run by former Lume chef Elijah Holland .
Acronym for “lady of the ice cream”, Loti is a relatively intimate space with a central bar separating a more casual drinks and snacks area from an all-day dining area overlooking an open fire-fueled kitchen. By day there are views across the Esplanade to Port Phillip Bay; at night there is a feeling of refuge.
An extensive menu makes it easy to settle in for a feast or nibble and drop by, perhaps to the nearby Theater du Palais or Hotel Esplanade for a show.
Main courses include a cornetto of smoked yellowfin tuna mousse with salted and cured Spanish albacore tuna.
A version of the lamb cevapcici sausage is seasoned with mountain pepper; it is served with a fermented green peppercorn and saline relish.
The turbot ribs are pan-fried like a rack of lamb and the skin of the fish in a sea parsley crust. “It’s crispy and clean, seafood for the winter,” says the chef.
Holland is an avid hunter and gatherer and the menu features native ingredients as well as invasive animals such as venison and botanicals such as cardoon, an artichoke thistle.
“We went for food, diving and fishing with the team,” he says. “We try to get to know and understand our products as much as possible.”
There is also theater. The “skating rink” seafood ceviche will be presented with a sheet of smashable ice.
A tea tree flavored marshmallow dessert will be toasted at the table, reminiscent of childhood campfires on the beach.
“It’s simple and accessible, but done in a fun way,” says Holland. “We want it to be interesting but not intimidating.”
Owner Cam Northway has Rocker in Bondi but this is his first foray into Melbourne. “Our vision was to create a local neighborhood getaway, to experience and evoke memories of your favorite travels, right here in Melbourne.”
He is enthusiastic about the cocktail programme: classics made with native herbs and local spirits. An example is the Milton Spritz, made with mountain marigold, gin, dry vermouth and gentian bitters.
Open daily, noon to late starting June 22.
14-16 The Esplanade, St Kilda, 03 4709 0800, lotistkilda.com.au