An all-day menu caters for lunch and dinner from 12pm til late, Monday to Friday, while on weekends it opens at 8.30am for breakfast as well.
Bookings are not accepted for groups of less than eight. This can make it hard to get a table, but for two of us on a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, the wait for an outside table was less than 15 minutes. While waiting we were seated at the bar, able to order drinks and check out the menu.
The food has changed substantially from the pizza and bistro fare of the cafe's previous life. The menu advises "Don't be selfish – share", and there are lots of tasty tapas-style dishes to make this easy. We started with oysters in a green chilli dipping sauce, followed by fresh raw ocean trout served with avocado, cuttlefish skewers, lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce and a marinated eggplant and tomato salad. Smaller share plates range in price from $5 to $16, while more substantial fare like a lamb spit roast, charcoal oven roasted chicken or a 250gm black angus sirloin range from about $26 - $30.
Tasty share plates: Cuttlefish skewers, lamb meatballs and eggplant salad
Knowing the new chef, Nick Mahlook, was previously a chef at the Stokehouse's upmarket restaurant upstairs, our expectations were high. We were not disappointed by the fresh, quality ingredients and good flavours.
In the past, the Stokehouse downstairs was popular for its location, atmosphere and views. Now we can add quality food to the list of reasons to go.