Elwood Bathers Restaurant

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Posted 2023-05-28 by Tricia Ziemerfollow

I adore getting to the beach, walking in the water and watching the changing face of the sea. For me, it is mesmerising in the heights of summer or depths of winter. And of course, after water walks, sand play and laying footprints to wash away, you need to delight your hunger senses.

In my search of the Melbourne foreshore, I found a fondly remembered restaurant tucked away off the Elwood Foreshore with stunning views of the water, with a facelift. I found a culinary delight in an old venue made sparkling new again. Sails by the Bay had been an icon on this beachfront for over 20 years. It was a family-run venue and very popular for weddings on the beach. I cannot find out why they closed but I sense, COVID struck.

And now it has been re-envisioned as Elwood Bathers with this feel of walking off the beach at any time and into a fine dining experience. Which is exactly what I did on the day. It was one of those murky Melbourne days of dark clouds and spits of rain, but perfectly still. Gentle laps of waves on the sand versus that crash of stoke waves.

It was moderately busy, with all the window seats reserved, as you would expect.

But they found a table for me with a floor-to-window view of the sea, sand and their outdoor eating area.

This outdoor area would be a hive of activity on any sunny day and could easily accommodate over 20 guests (on top of the indoor table settings) with bright blue and white umbrellas and matching chairs. They also have a function room for weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties or anything other.

That is all lovely, but for me, it is the chef and the service that brings the "seals" of approval to shore and rocks.

It did on this very day. There was a bit of "communicato" back and forth with the wait staff on the ingredients in my menu selection, but it was handled with finesse by Daniella. I found the wait staff not just responsive but anticipating my needs which seems to me a dying art in the service industry.

Thus out of many temptations, I selected a Frutti Di Mare pasta dish with the freshest prawns, crab, scallops, pipis, chilli, garlic, white wine, butter, and cherry tomatoes.

I asked for the dish without chilli and it arrived with a subtle and divine sauce that enhanced the seafood on the light delicate linguine.

I can certainly understand the joy of chilli, but I adore my rich seafood taste sensations. I grew up on the beach with the freshest fish, prawns, and flounders and I loved to find, shuck and eat oysters direct from the shell. Nature's vitamin pill along with the humble egg. And of course, I found a few natural pearls in my day.

This dish, especially designed for me, along with freshly warmed bread and butter, hit all the senses of my palate. I enjoyed it so much that I am dragging friends back very soon.

I sent my compliments to the chef preparing under Head Chef George Bilionis. I do wonder if it was Iranga Dilshan, on the day, who believes, "Working as a chef for more than ten years in various restaurants has made me realise how important it is to consider the preferences of the different customers. My main goal is to apply my knowledge to make new fusion dishes."

Now you must add, to the modern cuisine menu, an even more extensive beautifully styled and hard-bound wine list. I think it is the most extensive wine list I think I have encountered in a beach venue.

I could have chosen a Gruner Veltliner wine which is from a rare grape from Austria I adore and recently discovered on a trip to Handorf South Australia with the MG Car Club at the Handorf Hill Winery . But you would need a group to share a rare bottle and still drive. So instead, I paired it with a 2022 Pinot Gris from The Other Wine Company also of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. A match made in culinary heaven.

Before you know it, you will find you have enjoyed a wonderful two hours with the taste of the sea complimenting those stunning sea views. The buzz of happy customers kept the atmosphere inside warm and toasty and the blustery weather outside.

It would be a delight if management added the history and origins of the place to the front of the wine list.

Eltwood Bathers has been established by one of Melbourne's most experienced restaurant managers, Joel Penno (previously at Stokehouse and Kisume) as his first venue and it has quickly become one of the best seaside eateries on the Melbourne Port. The Sydney scene is even raving about this new restaurant.
Stunning Wedding Venue **

This will be a wonderful celebration spot for Melbourne residents and tourists alike. I can highly recommend you search this place out and enjoy one of the best on the beach restaurants in Melbourne, winter or summer. But I think you will definitely have to book well in advance for those idyllic sunny days. Check your extended forecast then book at Elwood Bathers .

But do not panic, if they are booked out, because they now have the efficient take away option so you can still tantalise your taste buds with the Chef's best at your own home or picnic spot.

If you rocked up with something from here for a family or friends dinner party, I think you would take top billing.

135526 - 2023-06-13 11:40:56


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