Amongst the palm trees and beach side views is the inner south-side suburb that just about never sleeps – St Kilda. Often misunderstood and perhaps overlooked by its hipster north-side suburban brothers, St Kilda has the diversity, individuality and confidence to be what it wants to be. It’s not a location that’s crafted from fads or ideals, rather business are built and lost by what the locals and visitors considered to be cool and iconic.
In the later part of 2014 the Sedgley Brothers – Charles and Edward – opened their second Lona Pintxos Bar in St Kilka. The second pintxos and tapas bar – the first located in Armadale – is easy spotted on Acland Street with its signature neon pink sign. The family run business has established itself in St Kilda by offering a bar and restaurant experience that removes the stuffiness around dining. The casual bite and drink location is modern and slick, incorporating a comfortable space to have a front bar and dining hall overlooking Acland Street. The dining hall also incorporates funky artwork that date backs to the 80s; discovered by the brothers during the renovation phase.
Lona’s latest debut is the launch of Lona Garden. Beyond the front bar is a hideaway oasis that caters for one of the largest alfresco dining and drinking space in St Kilda. Forget the crowded Republica, there is a new location to have an authentic St Kilda experience all year round. The open air seating and partially covered pergola – comfortably seats 130 people – means Lona Garden can be enjoyed year round for just about any occasion.
To get a true appreciation of Lona Garden, Lona Pintoxs Bar and Hot House Media provided an intimate yet relaxing alfresco dinner on a superb spring night in early October.
Lona comes from the word ‘Barcelona’, but the Sedgley Brothers didn’t want to limit their menu to one particular cuisine. The food offerings intend to be of a high quality, but also being casual about the experience. In-particular, Lona champions guests to get their fingers dirty to fully appreciate the flavours, but at the same token enjoying the experience.
Be it a quick bite or a relaxing dinner in their alfresco space, Lona Pintoxs Bar menu of pintxos (small snacks that are traditionally ‘spiked’) and tapas are well suited for any season.
To kick off, we were first taken to South America with Lona’s take of the Fish taco – lightly rice crumbed barramundi fillet with chipotle, lime, coriander and sala. Laid open on the wooden flat board, these fish tacos kick-started the theme of eating with your fingers. The crumbed barramundi was soft and succulent and matched with chipotle sauce made for a great starter.
This followed with Croqueta – Iberico quest, leek, smoked aioli, Flinders Island Saltgrass lamb ribs – cumin salt, sauternes, minted yoghurt and Patatas Bravas – Paprika spiced potatoes, smoked tomato, aioli.
The favourite among the table was the Flinders Island Saltgrass lamb ribs. Charles is a butcher by trade, and is super passionate about sourcing high quality and unique meats. The lamb on offer is particular special as it feeds off the salty pastures – creating a natural seasoning to the meat. It isn’t necessary a blast of salt, rather a delightful overtone to the meat that is found throughout the meat fibers; crispy on the outside and when dipped into the flavoured yoghurt made for a real treat.
Lona’s Paprika spiced potatoes were the perfect grazing food for in-between dishes. The bite sized potatoes had a rich paprika flavour and baked to perfection. Served with house made aioli makes for an dish with a crisp pale ale.
The final main for the night was the popular Slow Braised Pork Slider – jalapeños, crackling, chipotle. Ideal with a drink nearby, the braised pork was delicious with a lovely ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ moment and complemented with a gentle spice from the jalapenos.
For dessert, it was the sticky yet sugary delight of Churros – top deck, white & dark chocolate. The classic Spanish dessert dish was designed to share with its bite size churros that were deep fried for a sensational crunch, but also containing that irresistible fluffy dough inner.
Lona Pintxos Bar in St Kilda offers the ideal vibe that St Kilda is well known for. It’s casual and not stuffy. The food is playful and not over complicated or pretentious. Lona is the ideal restaurant and bar that allows for the diversity for either a few drinks before heading to the Palais or staying a little while longer.
64-66 Acland St,
St Kilda VIC 3182
Mon – Sun 12pm till late