“A place to call home, a place to belong, feel welcome and create special memories…our house on the beach and home we love to share.”

The St. Kilda foreshore is steeped in history and tradition. It has long been a popular weekend destination for both urban and suburban Melburnians, alike. To this day, it continues to provide a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. In the early 1900s, a popular therapeutic recommendation was to expose oneself to the steam rooms and cold pools of a public bathing house. As a result, in 1920, three such public bathing houses were constructed on the St. Kilda foreshore, providing separate facilities for men and women visiting the beach. Surprisingly, these premises were not open to the public on Sundays – then and now, of course, the area’s most popular day. Eventually, these public bathing houses fell into a state of disrepair, and 60 years later, in 1980, the local council placed the buildings up for tender specifically as a restaurant, an innovative and revolutionary concept at the time. The site was reopened in 1986 as Jean Jacques by the Sea. In 1995, the business was placed on the market and the seeds of a Melbourne culinary institution were planted. It was purchased by Gail and Kevin Donovan who, with support from partners Jeannie Donovan Fisher and Dick Fisher, transformed the bathing house via extensive renovations and a total makeover into the city’s quintessential expression of stylish and comfortable seaside dining, otherwise known as Donovans restaurant.

Donovans, St Kilda

DINE AT DONOVANS

Donovans, St Kilda

VISIT DONOVANS

Donovans, St Kilda

VISIT DONOVANS

Housed at 40 Jacka Boulevard, St. Kilda, Donovans is a self-proclaimed “place to call home, a place to belong, feel welcome and create special memories…our house on the beach and home we love to share”. Simply put, Donovans is an unpretentious and un-self-conscious establishment that offers guests, both local and international, a truly memorable dining experience in Melbourne. It offers stunning bayside views, meticulously crafted Mediterranean-inspired food and a particularly special, relaxed atmosphere – an atmosphere both visually and emotionally reminiscent of a private home. This is accomplished through the use of cushioned wicker chairs, comfortable lounges, beach-inspired homewares, white napkin-dressed wooden tables and floor-to-ceiling windows that provide diners with a romantic connection to the beach and the water. Natural timbers, sandstone fireplaces and rich and luxurious fabrics round out the physical space, a space which is divided into specific areas. These areas include the outside terrace, the enclosed verandah, the Cape Cod-inspired dining room, the Library, the lounge, the bar and an exquisite private dining room, the perfect setting for that upcoming birthday or anniversary celebration. Of course, the environment and the ambience are but a mere two-thirds of the overall experience. What about the final third? Indeed, what about the food?

Donovans’ exciting menu is founded upon Gail’s and Kevin’s deep knowledge of modern cuisine coupled with European influences. The culinary team, which includes a highly talented kitchen crew, has created an extensive menu based around an innovative mix of favourite dishes that emphasises the best in local produce. It celebrates fresh, seasonal, natural flavours, the ever-popular charcoal dish and, generally speaking, the food the team loves to eat, itself. Awaken your taste buds with a warm oyster tempura fried with avocado cream, pickled apple and flying fish roe and/or perhaps the chicken liver parfait with Sauternes jelly, rhubarb chutney, toasted focaccia and butter pickles. Pasta dishes, served as either entrée or main and including linguine with seafood and Moreton Bay bug, garlic and chilli, remind you of the intrinsic European nature of the menu. Your main may eventuate as a dish of crispy pork belly with confit Jerusalem artichokes, charred pickling onions and pinot noir jus or crispy-skin barramundi with cauliflower and macadamia, smoked tomato consommé and coastal greens. Smoked beef short ribs with roasted quince purée and beef jus and a 500g grass-fed T-bone from Tasmanian Wilderness Beef showcase the pinnacle of the charcoal offerings. Finally, if nostalgia and historical appreciation are ever-present components of your consciousness, the Bombe Alaska for two awaits. The old favourite boasts chocolate-hazelnut ice-cream and toasted meringue and will remind you of that time way back when, when you took that private oath to support and uphold all things gourmet. For, trends come and trends go; however, Donovans has proven its staying power within one of the more fickle arenas of eateries. Appropriately, its timelessness is celebrated by ‘The Age Good Food Guide’: “A beachside window seat remains one of Melbourne’s reliable pleasures.” And with that, the St. Kilda foreshore awaits your arrival.

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