There’s a Josper in Melbourne! Josper (pronouced H-osper) is a Spanish super hot charcoal oven. When I left London they were the latest thing with top restaurants like Hawksmoor and Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner featuring Jospers and now we have one in Melbourne thanks to the extreme makeover which has been given to downstairs at The Stokehouse, now called the Stokehouse Cafe.
|View from Stokehouse Cafe|
When I say extreme makeover I don’t mean it in a bad way, it’s just they’ve done more than repaint the walls downstairs at the Stokehouse. All the dark stone is gone and it’s a light airy space with a huge open kitchen and bar. Tan leather banquettes line one wall but the prime position is still, as it always has been, outside overlooking St Kilda beach.
|Corona time at Stokehouse Cafe|
The revamped cafe launched with a party last week that I stopped by at on Thursday night. It was beautiful balmy weather with a cracking sunset to boot which helped the bucket fulls of coronas and alcoholic ice slushies go down a treat.
|Hot dawg at Stokehouse Cafe|
Of course I was keen to check out what the Josper was producing as well. It’s an intensely hot oven which cooks at up to 900 degrees. The Josper isn’t a normal oven, and the quality of the food produced from it is far from normal too.
|Broccoli Pizza at Stokehouse Cafe|
It cooks up an amazing charred and juicy steak and looks like it will be used across The Stokehouse Cafe’s menu which features simple and popular dishes with a bit of a street food influence. There’s pizza and chilli hot dogs with jalapeno mayo ($8) and even the ubiquitous Mexican style charred corn on the cob topped with cheese ($7) which is everywhere in Melbourne at the moment.
|Peanut butter and jelly ice-cream sandwich at Stokehouse Cafe|
I’m not sure if Stokehouse Cafe cooked its pizzas in the Josper but they had a great crisp, charred base to enhance the simple but good toppings like the broccoli pizza ($12) I tried. It was topped with broccoli and ricotta and flecks of spicy chilli. Desserts are a real treat and if you can try the chocolate, peanut butter and jelly ice-cream sandwich ($10) it is to die for. Both savoury and sweet and a little bit nutty at the same time.
|Gelato at The Stokehouse – hand model by Meat-And-Three-Veg|
Welcome back to Stokehouse Cafe and welcome to Melbourne Josper.
Gourmet Chick was invited to Stokehouse Cafe’s opening party.
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Details: Stokehouse Cafe, 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda 3182 (Ph 03 9525 5445) Open Tues-Fri 12-late, Sat-Mon 7.30-late.
Damage: Reasonable but on this occasion I didn’t pay.
*No rating as this was a party so I can’t really judge the service etc.