St Kilda Sea Baths, 18 Jacka Boulevard St Kilda
After our disappointing dinner at Lygon street the night before, we put the bad memories behind us, deciding to take advantage of the continuing summer weather by journeying to the beach.
St Kilda beach.
It was a weekend or two before the huge St Kilda festival, so fortunately for us it wasn’t overrun by people. As it were, it was still overrun by people when we arrived after lunch that Sunday. We found parking on the side of the road and headed on to do the walk, in between the sand and surf on one end, and an array of stylish eateries on the other.
We walked to see, and we were seen. We came across an adorable Rottweiler pup that we stopped to pat, before deciding to be the ones people watching as we stood in line at the Beachcomber Café. We had actually attempted other places, but the lines were actually ridiculous. It wasn’t the St. Kilda festival, and though it was a warm day, it was extremely windy out there near the bay. As one man walking past me observed to his friends “imagine how busy it would be if the water were actually good?”
Touche my friend.
We waited in line at the Beachcomber for about 5 minutes. There were perhaps 2-3 groups of people in front of us, but seats were found for them quickly. Obviously, the most desirable seats were those outside, looking out towards the water. And the best of the bunch was those right at the fringe of this outdoor seating, next to the enclosure that separated the café from the beach walkway.
When it came our turn to be first in line, the door man appeared, disappeared, and then came back with a whisper “did you have a booking?”
We replied no, apologetically. He skimmed the room and then said again in a low tone “there’s a table at the front over there with a reserved sign – you can take it.”
We gratefully thanked him and went on over to see that he had just given us, the best table. Prime position: outside, right next to the enclosure, perfect for people watching. What a star.
We totally hadn’t planned for this trip, seeing as we had already eaten at home. And we had actually planned for coffee… but after seeing the food and drink being delivered to other tables, we knew we had to go that step further.
As a sharing snack, we got the Turkish Bread with Trio of Dips
Hubbie got a 500ml Peroni, while I got an impressive Pina Colada, served out of a coconut no less
While baby girl carried the coffee flag for us and got a babycino
(note, no actual caffeine in there!)
The dips were really good, so incredible moorish especially considering we had already eaten. All the dips tasted great to me. We finished it off really easily between the three of us.
And my drink was strong. It was summery and everything I thought it would be served out of a coconut, but gee, it gave me a good hit.
Although it was windy it was still relaxing sitting out there, because the huge orange umbrellas covering each table shielded us, while the view before us of the people walking by and the water, gave baby girl plenty to look at and keep her busy while we enjoyed the surroundings. We chilled, orange-topped staff walked around keeping everyone happy, while amazing food and drinks were delivered to eagerly-awaiting beachgoers.
We had had a spontaneous though terrific time there. Aren’t they the best ones though? We hadn’t been prepared for a meal otherwise we would have indulged there… next time, just another reason to go back.
Food: Just based on those dips, 8/10.
Coffee: Sadly not on this occasion, but baby girl’s babycino did look lovely
Ambience: Relaxed with style… how can you be anything else when you’re by the bay?
People: It was funny to observe, but I later saw the same door man sit another family close to us near the enclosure towards the end of our experience there… coincidence, or was he pro family? Ha ha. There were generally groups of people, but there were couples and friends and just everyone wanting to get a view of the water. The only off-putting thing was the group of 30ish guys sitting on the table next to us, as I easily deciphered their guy code and heard them as they ogled women walking past. Men like that are the reason I get overly paranoid walking alone. I just didn’t like it. But, Beachcomber can’t help that unfortunately. Perves will always come to beaches, to well, perve.
Staff: Really lovely and attentive, and the door man was just my favourite there wasn’t he?
Price: Under $60 for the lot, so it was definitely St Kilda prices. I did have a rather large and impressive drink, and Hubbie’s was more than his usual standard size of beer.
Advice: Either book for front seat, beach-view dining, or come at a time of day where there may not be many people queueing up. When we arrived post 2pm, the line was getting smaller, and soon after we were seated it was non-existent. Either way, wherever you sit you will see the water, the people, and smell the fresh sea air.
In a nutshell: We all loved this place for many reasons, and all the important ones: the atmosphere, the location, the view, and the food and drinks. The current menu does not list the Turkish Bread with Dips, however I’m fairly certain that the other items on the menu should not fall short.
These people live up to their name, as they have definitely identified something of value that people will keep coming back for. Because we will.