Dog's Bar Relaunches in St Kilda
Written by Jessica Williams
Dog's Bar on Acland Street has been somewhat of a staple of St Kilda since the nineties; its French European street frontage appealing to all walkers-by for over two decades. Entertaining diners with live music and a livelier menu, the road facing chairs reminding travellers of their Parisian adventures. And beyond the double doors, a cozy, dark wooden interior, with open fireplace, stocked bar and tea light candles flickering gently on each table.
Changing hands a number of times in the past few years, the venue retained its charm while the menu began to become tired and lackluster. And now, it is finally receiving the love and attention it deserves, with restaurateurs Erez Gordon and Paul Cooper taking over the kitchen and management in an attempt to reinvigorate Dogs Bar as an iconic eatery.
The menu is still being finalized, but the brined whole duck I sampled on my particular visit, served with beetroot and fennel – set to become a signature St Kilda dish - is well worth the visit. It has me thinking that the Dogs Bar may be returning to its former glory.
Cooper - a renowned nose-to-tail chef - was in the kitchen the night of my visit. Dogs Bar is Cooper and Gordons second joint encounter, the first being the successful Bishop Sessa Bistro and Wine Bar in Surry Hills.
The pair are currently both commuting between Melbourne and Sydney, looking after both restaurants and their young families. It’s a giant undertaking, but judging by the pair’s experience, they’re well equipped to handle it.
Before moving to Sydney, Cooper worked in Melbourne at The Botanical, The Provincial Hotel and O’Connells Hotel.
Gordon began his career in the hospitality industry working as a security guard before moving indoors to tend bar. He then travelled overseas and worked at renowned restaurant Mezzo before returning to Melbourne to become maitre’d of Jacques Reymond. You can learn more about him on Channel 7’s now cooking show, Restaurant Revolution.
My visit to Dogs Bar began with happy hour Sydney Rock Oysters and a glass of buttery Tarrawarra Chardonnay and lovely, relaxed service. It ended with a gooey, molten chocolate fondant (pictured below) with creamy prune and vanilla ice cream.
The Dogs Bar nightly specials consist of rotating pastas, fish and soup dishes. On this particular evening the Pork Gnocchi with Taleggio Gnocchi sounds too good to miss, its taste equally stunning, rich and filling. The Kingfish Crudo entrée, served with cucumber, avocado and grapefruit was much more summery; light and cleansing in preparation for the whole duck main shared between two.
The beer and wine offering is decent, a nice mix of local and international wine and beer, and the contemporary music playing makes Dogs Bar a great place to while away an evening. Charcuterie is still being aged out back, so it appears that grazing at the mahogany bar will soon become a popular St Kilda pastime.
We’re excited to see Dogs Bar grow and transform in the next few months – make sure you check it out!