Resilience is something we respect in a dining venue. But Republica on the beach in St Kilda was tested a little more than seems fair last year with two arson attacks on the seaside venue forcing them to close their doors in November and December. Two months and a $1 million dollar refurb later, they reopened to the public, making us remember why we like hanging by the beach. A few months later and the weather is starting to cool, but Republica are still letting us eat dinner with the water at our feet and drink afternoon cocktails in egg chairs. Respect.
As you enter, either from the shore, or through the St Kilda Sea Baths, don’t be surprised if you get a pang of nostalgia for the warmer times of the year. The interior, while similar in vibe to the previous (pre-arson) incarnation, has fresh carpets, floorboards, beautiful hanging lights, wooden banquet seating, and a fresh bar.
Executive Chef Matt Dawson is still in charge of the menu. The Italian inspired offering starts with Turkish bread paired with house made dips, premium Italian culatello ham and buffalo mozzarella, cured yellow fin tuna, taramasalata, and picked kohlrabi, or even a local mushroom risotto. Mains see juicy fresh tiger prawns served with linguini in a semi dried tomato pesto and basil sauce that really packs some heat, while the Rangers Valley Wagyu rump cap is perfectly rich and tender served with a mound of mashed potatoes. The homely offering is rounded off by a pizza menu including the spiced chipotle prawns smoked pork neck, and zucchini. Gluten free bases and dishes are on offer through the menu as well.
Feel like something sweet? You can head for the dessert menu for a salted caramel parfait with peanut sauce and buttered popcorn ice cream, or to the cocktail menu for an espresso martini. Don’t mind if we do.
The wine list sticks mainly close to home with the Fratelli Pinot Gris from the King Valley or the Bluemark Shiraz from the Barossa. If you’re sticking to beer you can get the Peroni Leggera or the Fat Yak on tap, or a Corona by the bottle for the quintessential summer brew.
It’s not summer, but Republica doesn’t seem to mind and neither do we. See you by the shore.
St Kilda Sea Baths, 10-18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda 3182
(03) 8598 9055