29th apartment is a bar and casual art gallery in St Kilda. It is inspired by and pays homage to Katishe, the struggling artist who originally inhabited the apartment, who went missing in the 80s. The bar is styled as a large open plan New York style apartment with a variety of options for seating. There's a long bar, couches and booths, tables and chairs, and even a bed.
The bedroom styled section at 29th apartment. Image credit: Aridhi Anderson.
A generous aisle between tables/seating on each side of the space ensures plenty of room to walk through without feeling crowded in. The lighting and ambience is beautiful, subtle and tastefully dim without being dark or shady in the least. Little candles on the tables provide just the right light to accent the faces and food you want to see best. The music is upbeat and yet unobtrusive - it is no hindrance to conversation. There's an endless collection of quirky furnishings, posters, artwork on canvas, clothes, books, and knick-knacks to keep your eyes engaged with variety, no matter where in the space you're seated. The staff are friendly, laid back and casual.
29th apartment, view as you enter. Image credit: Aridhi Anderson.
29th apartment launched their new winter menu with a party on 6 July 2018. A selection of food was sent around for tasting, along with mulled wine. The mulled wine was aromatic, sweet, mild and exquisitely spiced - I'd go back for that alone! Next up were tasters of the salads, a caprese salad (tomato, buffalo mozzarella, rocket leaves and fresh basil) and a pear, rocket and parmesan salad (with pepper, olive oil and pine nuts). Both salads were exactly what you'd expect of a good salad: fresh, flavoursome and tastefully presented. The caprese salad was flawless. The pepper in the pear salad was a pleasant surprise and was beautifully compatible with the other ingredients (among which personally I wouldn't have minded a bit more parmesan).
The next course of food sent around for tasting included slices of pizza: salamino (tomato base, mozzarella, spicy salami, roasted capsicum, black olives and capers) and margherita (tomato base, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil). The wood fired thin crust was faultless - excellent in taste and texture. The tangy tomato sauce was divine. The margherita pizza was definitely a highlight of the night - and a truly good margherita pizza is hard to come by.
Margherita pizza at 29th apartment. Image credit: Aridhi Anderson.
In addition to the official tasting, I found myself curious about a few other items on the menu as well. I ordered a vegetariana pizza with eggplant chips on the side. They did not disappoint. The eggplant chips were a hit in a standard what-you'd-expect-of-good-eggplant-chips way, and the pizza in a ooh-I-like-how-they-did-that way.
Vegetariana pizza and eggplant crumbed chips at 29th apartment. Image credit: Aridhi Anderson.
The pizza looked deceptively simple, topped with fresh rocket leaves and a dash of sauce, but the rocket leaves concealed generous amounts of exotic toppings - roasted capsicum, eggplant and zucchini. The eggplant and zucchini weren't cut in standard squares or half moons but in long caramelized slices, almost fused to the base, erupting in flavour as you bit into them. A definite winner!
New winter menu at 29th apartment. Image credit: Aridhi Anderson.
After the food tasting was over, there was a churro eating competition - a fun little event which earned the winner a year's worth of free churros at this venue! It was suitably hyped and a lot of people gathered around to watch and take photos. I didn't have room left to try out the churros or other desserts, but it's on my list for the next time I go back.
Churro eating competition at 29th apartment. Image credit: Aridhi Anderson.