Are you Phamished?

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Sometimes, the best restaurant experiences we have, are those that we don’t plan for. This month, restaurant reviewer Gabrielle Harkins finds herself at Phamish Food and Wine Bar; after being rejected from her first restaurant choice, and feeling very glad she was.

In life, there is nothing worse than lost time. Lost time means wasted opportunity, and when it comes to the restaurant I am reviewing this month, Phamish, I feel that I have deprived myself of opportunity.

Let me explain… I have lived in St Kilda for years, and until last week, I had only attended Phamish for their coffee. I have to confess, that it was only by pure chance, I finally dined with Phamish.

I was with a group of nine other people on a Saturday night, the restaurant we had planned to attend that evening, and that I had planned to review, turned us down because; and I quote, ‘they didn’t cater for groups of ten’.

So, the restaurant missed out on a review. Their loss. The management there obviously does not realise that catering for a group of ten, can often translate into ten people providing their business with free advertising through word of mouth. Clearly they don’t want it. The less said about that particular establishment then, the better.

So, there we were: a group of ten hungry and annoyed people, stranded in St Kilda at nine o’clock on a Saturday night, with no idea as to which establishment would take a large group, and without a booking. Disaster!

It was then, that Phamish came to our rescue. Friendly staff and owner/manager, Nicole, greeted us at the door where we were welcomed and accommodated to. Even though the restaurant was very busy, we were promptly seated, and provided with an efficient waiter who put through our drink orders in record time. Taking into account the day of week, and that we had arrived without a booking, during peak hour, I thought it was very impressive service.

The restaurant, though it looks small from the outside, is deceptively large. The narrow entrance opens up into a wide space, that travels right through to the back of the building. Like the restaurant’s funky exterior, the interior design is sleek, yet warm and comfortable.

Best of all, the food matched the great service and the pleasant interior.

The entrées and mains were delicious, and served at the same time; essential when catering for large groups. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in the village for a long time.

My steak was cooked to perfection, and was served with a tasty serving of green pea mash, port jus and fennel. I tasted some of the other dishes on the table, and came to the conclusion that, Phamish has some of the best entrée platters and seafood marinara in St Kilda!

The restaurant also has a wonderful private dining room, separated from the main room by draped sheer material, providing privacy, without interfering with the restaurant’s ambience. So impressed were we by the quality of food and service, that a birthday meal was booked for the following month, by one of my party, that very evening.

So, if you have wasted an opportunity as I did, and only had a coffee at this hidden gem, then book a table at Phamish, and let Nicole and the team provide you with some of the best food and service in St Kilda.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar is at 30 The Esplanade, St Kilda. Bookings can be made on (03) 9534 3800 or



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