Claypots Seafood RestaurantI do wonder why it has taken me so long to visit this popular seafood restaurant. Is it because of the renowned long wait for a table or the lack of free parking in St Kilda or the fact that my knowledge of the various kinds of fish and their natural flavours are smaller than the average fisherman? Perhaps yes to all three.
I decided to give Claypots a try between six and seven o'clock for their Paella Hour (this is every night of the week). I arrived just after six on a Saturday night and was pleasantly surprised to get a table without waiting for one minute. After ordering my glass of a Marlborough sauv-blanc blend, I decided to let the waitress know of my intention to eat the $5 Paella before the next hour clocks over.
Checking out the place in the meantime, I noticed the decor was nearly all recycled, but artistically styled so to resemble a seafood restaurant along the Monterey Pier. Old leather booths provided half the seating at the back of the restaurant while square wooden tables were arranged throughout anywhere for a romantic dinner for two to a party of six. The adjacent courtyard was covered with pebbles and creeper provided the garden feel to a party of nearly fifty that booked for the night.
Booked you say? This is a foreign word at Claypots. One never books a table, perhaps unless you know the owner. And forget fine dining service and decor. The only five-star element to Claypots is the food it so well serves.
A restaurant that once only served tap water as its only beverage with the option to BYO soft drink and wine now boasts an extensive list of local and imported wine and beers, along with unusual-named cocktails and the usual spirits and aperitifs.
Apart from the drinks list is a brief menu of tapas including marinated olives, mussels, prawns cocktail and other tiny morsels to stop that grumbling tum. On the blackboard at the back of the restaurant is a list of fish that I never knew existed. The natural flavour of the fish is brought to life with an international accent - Malay, Moroccan, American and African flavours. Another blackboard half its size lists the range of mouth-watering Claypots for $20.
The unique element to Claypots is its fresh seafood display housed on ice behind a glass cabinet. Gigantic prawns that look as though they were injected with steroids share the display with its sea neighbours. There is no doubt about the freshness of the seafood in this place.
At 6:30pm, the waitress decides to tell us that the Paella is only served from their bar next door. But it's not easy to order in the restaurant and bring in a plate of paella. The only way to enjoy this seafood paella was to give up my well sought after table and risk waiting well over an hour upon my return. Choices, choices!
The Claypots menu left a good impression on me that I decided to enjoy the last serve of the paella at the bar with a glass of white in the wait for the muso's to start their gig soon after.
Review By Monica
Open: Daily 10am to 10pm
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 213 Barkly Street St Kilda | Map
✆ 03 9534 1282
❊ Web Links ❊
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