Claypots, Melbourne, Australia
By Jeremy – April 26th, 2007
Melbourne is my kind of town. It has a thriving music scene, real neighbourhoods and most importantly, great food. There are countless cafes and restaurants all over the city covering every kind of cuisine.
When myself and Jessica had the very good fortune to find ourselves in Australia last year, we just knew that we’d have to make a trip to Melbourne. We wound up staying in the St. Kilda area, a funky place with lots of young hip people hanging out at the beach. It reminded me a lot of Brighton.
The main drag in St. Kilda is renowned for its cake shops. But I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I was interested in more savory fare. I found my wishes answered at a restaurant called Claypots.
Claypots is a seafood restaurant with an almost overwhelming choice of fish and shellfish. They’ve got just about everything you could possibly want. The good news is that you don’t have to decide on just one thing. You can pick and choose any number of things from the menu. Just flag down your server and tell them when you fancy some more nibbles, the order gets relayed to the kitchen—situated right in the middle of the restaurant behind the food counter—and your fish dish is cooked right there in front of you.
You can fill up the edges with plenty of other tapas too. It was a busy night when we showed up here and we had been waiting a while to get a table. We must have looked hungry because our waitress treated us to some tzaziki while we waited to place our order.
I really liked the atmosphere in this place. It was noisy but in a good way. The place is filled with the sound of people having fun, the sizzle of seafood and the kitchen staff calling out to one another. The smell of hot butter and garlic is an added bonus.
Instead of a printed menu, the options at Claypots are listed out on a blackboard. This list will vary from night to night and, of course, from season to season. As the evening progresses, the list gets shorter as prized items are consumed and removed from the list.
I highly recommend trying Morton Bay bugs if they’re on the menu: a delicious crab-like crustacean with firm tasty flesh inside a primordial looking shell. It was also at Claypots that I tried yabbies for the first time. These Australian fresh-water crayfish were served up without any fuss. You can’t beat simple fresh food in a bustling but cosy restaurant.
You won’t be able to reserve a table ahead of time at Claypots. Just show up early. If they can’t seat you straight away, they’ll get your mobile number and call you when a table is free. In the meantime, you can pop into the wine shop next door and choose a nice Australian wine to go with your meal—it’s a BYO restaurant.
If you’re in Melbourne, don’t pass up the chance to eat at Claypots. If you can’t make it all the way out to St. Kilda, there’s a second restaurant at 153 Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. Either way, if you like fresh seafood, you can’t go wrong here.
Claypots, 213 Barkly Street, Melbourne, 3182 VIC, Australia, +61 (03) 9534 1282