One fabulous advantage of writing about food: you are always amongst the first people who hear about a new venue and sometimes you even get invited to try their food and service first hand.
Last week we were invited to the official opening of ARALIYA which is St Kilda’s latest addition to Fitzroy Street and with executive chef Sam Wedande’s Sri Lankan cuisine, the new restaurant fits in perfectly in a neighbourhood with ‘Milk the Cow’ and ‘Luxembourg’.
Sam Wedande graduated to five-star restaurants in the UK, before working in Melbourne and finally opening his first restaurant – ARALIYA – in Hawthorne. This is now being replicated in St Kilda, albeit on a more glamorous scale to fit with the younger, more upmarket target group of this end of Fitzroy Street.
“I like to experiment with flavours.
I came here to create new recipes and to build a restaurant around the drinks as much as the food.”
Chef Sam Wedande
“I could retire but I don’t want to. I’m in it for the love of cooking.”
The interior looks modern, minimalistic, spacious yet welcoming and inviting. Textured wall panels, leather banquets and ottomans in the restaurant offset the sleekness of the bar, which includes two bespoke cocktail stations.
The Araliya philosophy is to serve contemporary dishes drawing from high quality local ingredients and infused with the spices for which Sri Lanka is well known: coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
You can easily see yourself spending a night with friends here, sipping on cocktails and nibbling on dishes such as lamb frikkadels, curried duck leg with pineapple chutney, the grilled juicy Queensland prawns cooked in a pungent roasted tomato and sun-dried chilli sauce with ginger and lemon or a Stack of ‘Thosai’ – a rice and lentil pancake with aromatic curry leaf and mustard seed-infused root vegetables.
Sounds delicious and mouth-watering, doesn’t it? Let me tell you, it was! Our personal favorite from the opening night were the Vegetable Croquettes filled with mushroom, green tomato, banana blossom and sweet potato.
Not to forget the deserts! (Oh so good!)
With internationally renowned mixologist Anton Turco Bertolotti’s spicy cocktails they are completing their concept of building a restaurant around the drinks as much as the food.
Some of the signature cocktails include a Spicy Mule, Chili & Grapefruit Margarita or a Basil Martini.
If you are keen to try something new, then head over to Araliya in St Kilda. Im sure you’ll love it as much as we already do.
Araliya St Kilda
157 Fitzroy Street
St. Kilda, Victoria 3182
7 Days: Monday – Sunday
12 noon till late
+61 3 9078 6757
+61 424 391 248
We got some help for this post. As Araliya has a good range of vegetarian dishes on offer, we brought two trusted friends with us to the opening, Line and Angela, who tasted the meat and fish dishes for us so we can discribe and review them for you guys.
Please note that Klaus and Fritz were invited to the opening of Araliya, but all opinions expressed in this article are our own.