After celebrating 30 years as Head Chef of Araliya Hawthorn, Sam Wedande has taken his chef hat to a new home in St Kilda.
A passionate chef who first introduced Sri Lankan flavours to Hawthorn in 1985, Wedande has cultivated a strong following across three generations for his spice infused contemporary dishes.
The new Araliya St Kilda is warm and inviting, yet sophisticated - Featuring textured wall panels, leather banquets and ottomans in the restaurant and two bespoke cocktail stations at a sleek looking bar which showcases an extensive wine list.
The menu features recipes created from the early days of Araliya Hawthorn that have proven to be timeless favourites as well as reinvented contemporary dishes, including a great selection of vegetarian and gluten free choices, with the spices Sri Lanka is famous for: coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
We were pleased to find that the food served has a focus on locally sourced produce and is very reasonably priced.
Crusted fish – Saltbush, mandarin, cucumber, gambodge, tamarind
We particularly enjoyed the Crusted fish which was cooked to perfection. Wonderfully seared and boasting bold flavours of tamarind, it went well with the fresh accompanying salad of Saltbush, mandarin and cucumber.
The centrepiece course of pork belly continued the trend of stunning dishes that preceded it. The pork was moist on the underside and topped with a perfect crust of crispy crackling that was accentuated by tamarind peanuts. The rockmelon and pickled papaya provided a delectably unique and refreshing accompaniment to the pork.
For dessert, the milk chocolate mousse with sweet potato custard stood out. The decadent creaminess of the mousse was echoed by the sweet potato custard. While the salted caramel added a desirable hint of salinity, the hazelnut crumble added interest with its perfectly crisp texture.
With a focus on classic Sri Lankan flavours but adding a few of twists along the way, Araliya is a delicious addition to St Kilda’s bustling food culture.