Last night, I dined at Donovans in St. Kilda. It's a charming beach house styled restaurant; with comfy oversized cushioned benches and an eclectic mix of wooden chairs. White dressers line the long side wall, arrangements of framed photographs sit next to a large wooden framed mirror at the end and an assortment of candles help to soften the lighting.
The staff are in dressed in pastel green check shirts and beige trousers under long orange aprons. In keeping with the pastel green and orange theme, the dressers are dressed with the same coloured drinking glasses. The atmosphere is one of casual, relaxed and of course, by the beach.
The food menu is vast - starters, salads, pasta, from the bbq, main courses, on ice (oysters), dishes for two (such as a whole roast duck), side orders, desserts and the cubby menu for kiddies.
I decided to start with some oysters, a mix of Pacific and Sydney Rock ($3.50 each). As one would imagine, the Pacific oysters tasted more like the sea - delicious!
My fellow dining companions had the 'four tastes' tasting plate ($21)and the Donovans 'home smoked salmon with a blini, salman caviar and dill sour cream' ($25). The blini was no shrinking wallflower, it looked like a generous fishcake. The salmon looked wonderfully moist. The four tastes were a stuffed mushroom, roast beef, smoked trout and unfortunately I cannot remember the fourth. But I did try the mushroom and roast beef, both were good.
For mains, I chose the 'Sicilian-style swordfish with pesto, mint and melting onions' ($42) from the bbq. My dining companions chose the 'Black Angus T-bone of beef from the Western District' ($45), again also from the bbq; the 'Double lamb chop flavoured with chicken and herbs served with creamy mash and ratatouille vegetables' ($44) and the 'Roasted Berkshire pork cutlet with sauce charcutière and creamy mash' ($45) from the mains.
My swordfish wasn't overwhelming which was good. The onions were wonderfully softened and full of flavour. It also came with a side of lightly dressed cos lettuce leaves and crispy rosemary roasted potatoes. A gorgeous light meal.
Below is the 'Black Angus T-bone steak'. Again, it came with a side of lightly dressed cos lettuce and rosemary roasted potatoes.
The double lamb chop with chicken and herb crust looked rustic, generous and well cooked.
The pork cutlet was a generous size with a dollop of mash and the charcuterie sauce.
Service was attentive, polite and informative. We felt very much at home in this wonderful beach house restaurant. I can see why people love Donovans, it was spectacular to watch the sun setting right by the beach whilst enjoying a delicious meal.
Although this place isn't cheap, it is well worth it for a special occasion. The food is good, ingredients fresh, service exemplary, and the views are lovely.
40 Jacka Boulevard, St. Kilda, VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9534 8221
Mon-Sun: Lunch and Dinner