Ahhh Summer – the time of year when it's mandatory to spend afternoons and weekends with friends, cocktail in hand, lapping up the sunshine. Goooood times. If the promise of sunshine wasn't enough to put a smile on your face, then perhaps the arrival of a new Summer dining and drinking haunt will. Enter Captain Baxter.
Occupying the space above Republica, another Summer favourite, Captain Baxter is the latest addition to the St Kilda social playground. The venue plays on its seaside location with resort-like interiors – think a Santorini blue and crisp white colour scheme, accented with wood finishes – and windows almost everywhere to take in that famous St Kilda foreshore view. It's fun, it's bright, it's bold and it's very cosmopolitan – the perfect setting for your silly season adventures.
"And what of the food and drink?" I hear you ask. Well, well, well – Captain Baxter does not disappoint! Perfectly designed for sharing, the menu borrows from various cuisines – there are Asian and Mediterranean flavours amongst others – with incredibly fresh and flavoursome produce used to create the moreish dishes. The drinks list is just as impressive – pages of the best cocktails, beer, wine, spirits and liqueurs. Beautifully presented, the Green Knoll mojito and Lady Grange martini were the perfect drinks to start off our night.
First up, we had freshly shucked oysters before continuing the seafood theme with toothfish sashimi (toothfish – sounds so cute, doesn't it?) accompanied by ponzu dressing and a sea scallop ceviche with tequila jalapenos and citrus – yep, it's as epic as it sounds. Beef wrapped in betel leaves and chicken spring rolls with sesame dressing followed and pretty much disappeared into our mouths the second they hit the table.
Next, we got our DIY on with pork steamed buns accompanied by hoisin sauce and vegies, and soft shell tacos with pumpkin, black beans, feta and jalapenos – the ingredients were brought to the table before we put together the little parcels of food-heaven ourselves. To finish, we devoured lamb wrapped in pastry and served with goats curd and pinenuts.
Now, we all know that no good meal just ends there. No, no, no. Although our stomachs were nearly full to capacity, there was no chance of leaving without dessert. Our pick of the delectable Captain Baxter desserts? The coconut sticky rice with mango sorbet – it's even better than it sounds.
Rolling out of Captain Baxter, we were almost sad to leave. Almost. No tears were shed because we knew it was just the first taste of many a day and night hanging with the Captain – oh yes, we'll be back for more.
Captain Baxter | St Kilda Sea Baths
10-18 Jacka Boulevard in St Kilda
Call 03 8534 8999 for reservations
Image Credit: Emma Forster