Modern Australian at St Moritz

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By Mantis Kane



Some St Kilda residents might recognise the name ‘St Moritz’.

Back in the 1940s, our village had an ice skating rink by that name.

St Moritz was a beacon of entertainment, attracting people from all over Melbourne to give the ice a go.

Patrons could skate with their friends, play ice hockey, and battle against each other in figure skating competitions.

Then, after 40 years in the business, things hit the skids and the venue doomed.

While the councillors debated its heritage status at the Town Hall, the Moritz’s future was abruptly decided by a fire in 1982.

The ice melted, flowing into the gutters, only to metamorphosize into a smokable amphetamine that would plague the district for years. A sad metaphor for the closure of public amenities.

The burnt down icon on the Esplanade seems to have segued into a great new restaurant, albeit in a slightly different location, on Acland St to be exact.

I wondered if the Acland’s St Moritz would be a homage to its older namesake, enshrined in memorabilia.


Photo: supplied

There were clues.

The ‘Moritz’ seafood platter came out steaming with arctic mist. The cocktail list nodded to the 40s (Mint Julep, Southside). The waiter was unusually graceful. A toothless man on Acland St brandished a hockey stick. The attention to the theatrical detail was amazing!

But no. Just loose associations, confirmation biases misfired by my dodgy mind.

The food is ‘Modern Australian’. Which, if you are wondering, essentially means the inclusion of either calamari, smashed avocado or massive prawns.

It is all day dining here, so I’m pretty sure all those Modern Australian touch points were met. It’s open as late as 1 am, and the options reflect the culinary time zones: hearty breakfasts, lunchtime pides (boat-shaped Turkish pizzas) and fine dining options to close.

I should mention the desserts.

Although I’m easily wooed by sugar (culinary heroin), and far from being an aficionado, the dessert charcuterie board was particularly alluring.

It was loaded with content, like your Facebook live feed, but with less filler.

Little almond finger cakes, fruited chocolate, cute cookies, strawberries encased in white chocolate, sweet gravel and cubic marshmallows.

Naturally, I assumed the cold tunnel visioned demeanour of a scientist examining a specimen – which, under the circumstances, only seems fair.

The desserts here are a real conversation killer. A dinner date time-out.

The kitchen is closed, as in it is not open for public viewing. Not even a peephole to steal a glimpse of the backstage furnace.

Which is probably wise, due to the expansive menu it would probably be chaos in there.

By contrast, the restaurant is serene, with nicely appointed wood panelling, a monstrously decorative drinks wall and deep velvety booths.

Imagine the Great Gatsby refurbishing a ski lodge, and you’re halfway there.

Being situated in the centre of Acland St, you’re probably wondering about the clientele.

From my limited exposure, I’d say pretty broad. Backpackers treating themselves, Tinder first dates, corporate diners, LGBTQI bloggers and some large leathered bearded men politely eating Kangaroo Carpaccio.

A real melting pot.

Smasher of both avocados and stereotypes.


St Moritz 

138/140 Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182





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