Bars & Pubs

Stokehouse City Bar | The Verdict

By Pip Jarvis
13th Feb 2015

Here at The Urban List, we are pretty partial to a long, boozy lunch in Melbourne. We’re always on the lookout for a killer Melbourne restaurant for said indulging and imbibing, so we were pretty stoked (sorry) to recently pop along to one of Melbourne’s best bars, Stokehouse City, and get our lunch on.

While we do love to sport our fancy pants, this time we opted to take a low-key approach in the laneway-level bar. By no means slumming it, the spacious Stokehouse City Bar was a-bustling, packed to the high-ceilinged rafters with Melbourne CBD power lunchers.

With a selection of seating options to accommodate groups of all sizes—stools around high perches, wooden tables with mismatched chairs, and ruby and royal blue banquette seating for larger crowds, plus tables in the laneway outside for sunny days—Stokehouse City Bar has a chic, super chill vibe.

The bar itself features as the focal point—a cool timber-clad affair, stocked with all the good stuff.  The remainder of the space is casually stylin’, with laneway-facing windows, oversized, boxy cream ceiling lights and fresh white walls, and the constant hum of conversation fuelled by good times.

Once seated, we got down to the serious business—ordering a round of Aperol Spritzes and Campari Sodas (beer for the fellas) and, because we’re little piggies and have a chronic case of #foodenvy, ordered the feasting option.

And then the food, glorious food came a rolling. Perfectly paced—not so thick and fast you feel like they’re about to start vacuuming under your feet and kick you to the kerb, but not so slow you’re gnawing at your neighbour between bread and entrée—the sharing dishes were simply delish.

Being a fiend for all things fried, the ham, potato and cheese croquettes were a party in my mouth, with light and refreshing raw yellow fin tuna, lemon, soy, and green onions balancing out the guilt:pleasure ratio I struggle with at every meal.

Next came the tomato, prawn, chilli, and roasted fennel pizza—a kickass flavour combo, with plump, juicy prawns resting on a perfect crispy-chewy base. Gone in 60 seconds.

While it’s oft-quoted that nobody makes friends with salad, we say pfffffftt! Stokehouse’s Buffalo mozzarella, tomato, tapenade, and basil salad was the perfect balance of fresh flavours, but the shredded Tuscan kale and fennel, with parmesan cream, and toasted rye crumbs was some kind of Caesar-esque wizardry. And, like, totally #superfoods.

Then the Stokehouse City piece de resistance—slow-roasted lamb shoulder, topped with cumin yoghurt, almonds, and mint. Served with a side of roasted cauliflower, pine nuts, currants, lemon, and parsley, let’s just say the conversation stopped flowing for a while. (Editor’s Note: Now, this’ll be contentious, but one TULer crowned it the best lamb shoulder she’s eaten at any Melbourne restaurant…)

We ditched desserts for once, because BALANCE, rolling out after a few more rounds of vino with happy bellies and rosy cheeks. Stokehouse City Bar, we’ll be seeing you again soon (in stretchier pants)!

Image Credits: Nick West

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