Food and Drink

   

Captain Baxter’s room with a view

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Many will remember Soulmama fondly – the Paul Mathis restaurant that served vegetarian and vegan dishes above the St Kilda Sea Baths for years. Well, Soulmama’s gone (actually, moved up the road) and has been replaced by Captain Baxter, a sleek new cocktail bar.

This is a good thing. The view here, smack bang beach front overlooking the bay, really deserved cocktails instead of bain maries. Captain Baxter has a nautical – almost 70s Bond theme – plush couches, chandeliers, a rooftop garden with astroturf.

Apparently Captain Baxter (not to be confused with Captain Melville) was a rollicking scallywag who hunted pirates, was Melbourne’s first postmaster general and named Brunswick Street (after his mate Brunswick Smyth). He also liked a cocktail or two.

Fittingly, there’s dozens of cocktails you can enjoy either shaken or stirred. The signature bevvie, The Captain, was a moody mix of Jamesons, pomegranate molasses, fresh cloudy apple juice and Melbourne Tea syrup ($17).

Like many men have said, I preferred The Captain’s Wife (pink grapefruit, Tromba tequila with lime marmalade and Grand Marnier, $17.5). In fact, it was one of the best cocktails I’ve had all year.

The booze continued to kick goals when my drinking partner boldly started she’d cross the river for the The Monk of St Kilda (a cider-based concoction with Hennessy VSOP, French green apple liqueur, cloudy apple juice and pear marmellata foam, $21).

The food, which is based around sharing plates, didn’t reach the lofty heights of the liquor, but there were some standouts. The grilled octopus with potatoes and red and green mojo ($16) was superb, while the salty, wrinkly potatoes – first dehydrated then baked and dusted in salt – were nuggets of starchy beauty.

But everything really pales before that view. Which gets prettier, if a little hazier, by the cocktail.

CAPTAIN BAXTER
St Kilda Sea Baths, 10 – 18 Jacka Boulevard St Kilda
8534 8999
Thurs 5pm – late
Fri – Sun 12pm – late
captainbaxter.com.au


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