When I think of St Kilda, what instantly comes to mind includes the beach, Luna Park and truffled polenta chips. Those who have tried the polenta chips from Fitzrovia will know just how good they are, and will also be pleased to know that the owners of the popular St Kilda cafe have opened up a new eatery, Roxborough, nearby.
The sharing-style menu features a Modern Australian and European backdrop and yes, the truffled polenta chips also make an appearance! Although, perhaps not for sharing - I could’ve easily finished a plate on my own…
The flow of the evening took on the form of appetisers/entrees, followed by an overlap with mains and ended with dessert. As you’ll come to see, many of the entrees could serve as mains, and this works very well for the shared dining concept.
Palates were whet with fresh Tasmanian oysters, which together with some crisp sav blanc goes down a treat on a summery evening. Then from afar came the wafting aromas of truffle, cueing the arrival of the polenta chips. Nailing it in texture and flavour composition, the chips were velvety smooth on the inside with a gentle crisp exterior, and topped with a very generous heaping of truffled parmesan and parsley. Delicious flavour explosion. Mouth is watering as I type, for reals.
I occasionally struggle when it comes to dishes with a gamy profile and braced myself for displeasure when it came to the next two dishes. I was pleasantly surprised with the rabbit and chicken terrine - the inclusion of nuts throughout the terrine and the salty+crunchy sourdough crisps helped distract the taste buds from any hint of gaminess. The same could not be said for the veal in the vitello tonnato. Sensationally tender, yes, but not my cup of tea when it came down to its natural flavour. I did however enjoy the accompanying tuna tartare. The zucchini dish turned out to be another one of the hero dishes of the evening, and unexpectedly so. The dish itself not only uses great produce but the prepping and shaving of the zucchini is also quite fresh, taking place following each order to ensure that each bite has that fresh quality. Overall flavours were quite complex but played off one another beautifully with a hint of bitterness from the grilling, natural sweetness of the zucchini and peas, punchy mint and subtle creaminess of the ricotta.
On par with the heavenly heights of the polenta chips was the gnocchi. Made in house and with Dobson potatoes from the Yarra Valley, the gnocchi pieces were superbly pillowy-light and silky in texture. It was teamed with a flavoursome profile of ingredients, resulting in utter satisfaction and perfection on a plate. Both the pippies + clams and the porchetta were also crowd pleasers, well balanced in their flavours and left tasty impressions. Points for the pork crackling not sticking to the molars.
The medley of sweet, sour and tangy flavours captured in the yoghurt panna cotta made for a good dessert that wasn’t overly decadent, but also paled in comparison to many of dishes we had been served earlier in the evening. The bar had been set quite high with those polenta chips and gnocchi.
With the taste of heaven still haunting my taste buds and many of the other dishes we hadn't tried tickling my fancy (including some of those on their recently launched breakfast/brunch menu), it seems a return visit to Roxborough is a must.
- Bruny Island oysters with green apple granita.
- Polenta chips with truffled parsley and parmesan.
- Rabbit and chicken terrine with early summer pickled plums and served with sourdough toast.
- Vitello Tonnato - milk poached veal fillet, with tuna tartare and rye pangritata.
- Grilled, pickled and shaved heirloom zucchinis with pea salsa, mint, pistachio and ricotta salata.
- Potato gnocchi, with zucchini, asparagus, peas, stinging nettle pesto, pine nuts and goats curd.
- Pippies and clams, with smoked pork hock, garlic shoots and parsley.
- La Porchetta - rolled crisp skinned rare breed pork belly, with braised chicory, organic black lentils and salsa verde.
- Yoghurt panna cotta, with roasted yellow peaches, honeycomb and rosemary.
88 Acland St,
St Kilda, Victoria, 3182.
(03) 9537 3819
Disclosure: I dined as a guest of Roxborough. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.