Celebrating their delicious new lunch menu
644 Burwood Road, Hawthorn East VIC
Chicken rice paper rolls with herbs, lettuce, hoi sin, chilli peanut dipping sauce
Having held one of our (soon to be rebranded) “Girl Boss Gathering” networking dinners at St Cloud Eating House the night before it opened, we have been closely involved with this wonderful new venue since the very beginning (and by beginning, I mean before all the light fittings had even been installed). Despite the fact that we dumped 80 excitable food-obsessed-but-dietary-requirement-overloaded women on a kitchen team that hadn’t even officially started work, the night was a huge success and the dining experience was exceptional. I have been back several times since then to continue exploring the dinner offering, but hadn’t experienced the lunch menu despite my strong preference for lunch dates (slash the lunch time lighting situation – dinner dates don’t lend themselves to the best food photography!) That was, of course, until the recently launch of the NEW lunch menu which made for the perfect excuse to pop in for a daytime feast.
Wok tossed greens with rice and chicken with kaffir lime, chilli
The one time when my unique cultural identity swings more towards my oriental heritage is in the food department – I ADORE Asian cuisine. St Cloud showcases the delights of Vietnamese cuisine (which is one of my favourites) using the freshest locally sourced seasonal produce, so I am all over this place like a rash. Despite my great love for food, I unfortunately have quite a few dietary requirements making me that annoying “menu-changer” who often struggles to find things that satisfy both the allergies and the palate at once. Never fear, St Cloud is here! There are options for everyone with the infinitely Melbourne-friendly “V”, “GF”, “DF” indications scattered throughout the extensive and varied menu BUT without the all too common exorbitant price tag that typically accompanies food that is both delicious AND nutritious. St Cloud is surprisingly affordable for its quality, portion size and overall experience, which is always a big plus especially on the Melbourne food scene.
Egg noodle salad snake beans, toasted rice, pickled chilli, coriander, sweet basil, soy ginger dressing paired with the fish of the day (salmon)
The menu strikes the perfect balance between fancy innovation and straight-up deliciousness. “Asian fusion” has been all the rage of late, but I find that it often means molecular degustation style food that leaves me hungry and strays a little too far from the traditional underlying dishes such that the food is almost unrecognisable. At the same time, sometimes you want a little more than your local looks-like-a-food-poisoning-den-but-is-actually-Melbourne’s-best-hidden-gem family restaurant for a nice food outing with friends or family. This is where I find St Cloud to be unique – the menu includes all the Vietnamese staples like a solid pho, delicious rice paper rolls, some street food style starters and heartier mains. But the dishes also include some creative twists on flavour and, more prominently, presentation making my standing-on-tables-food-photography job an absolute breeze. Each dish an absolute work of art, bursting with colour, aroma and fabulous flavour.
Mekong curry with lemongrass, turmeric, chilli, ginger, potato, daikon, tofu, carrot, pumpkin, herbs, sprouts, betel leaf, rice
Like many Asian style restaurants, the menu is based on shared feasting which is a lovely experience (provided you aren’t eating on the other side of the table to me meaning “sharing” means 2 for me, 1 for you). We enjoyed a little bit of everything and all of us left feeling more than satisfied. There is also a delicious drinks menu (including fresh young coconuts – favourite!) and the setting is beautiful and inviting. Designed by award-winning Elle Critchley designs (Feast of Merit et al), it is no surprise that both storeys are impeccably presented fusing sleek minimalism with homely greenery to suit the suburban but trendy locale and modern menu offering. The bottom storey has lots of natural light and is sort of split into two sections with separate tables, communal tables and bar tables by the windows. Upstairs also has abundant indoor seating but the main event is the gorgeous outdoor rooftop terrace with hanging swing chairs and lots of lush greenery. Again, lots of natural light paired with wonderful service and always a smile from the lovely staff. Highly recommend a visit to this Hawthorn hotspot people!!!!
Open 12 noon-late Tue-Sun. Closed Monday.