The Prince Hotel is so iconic that it hardly needs an introduction. A cornerstone of St Kilda hospitality, The Prince Hotel has been a comfort to locals and tourists alike for well over a century.
But after a lengthy renovation and much-needed refurbishment (which continues into 2019), the iconic St Kilda haunt is back bigger and better than ever before… and it all starts with its new restaurant, the Prince Dining Room!
As aforementioned, The Prince Hotel is rich in history and character, with a story or two to tell. An integral part of St Kilda’s landscape since 1863, it was a humble guest house for roaming patrons for quite some time.
1936 saw The Prince Hotel rebuild with an Art Deco finish, becoming one of Melbourne’s grandest hotels and a mecca for a range of people, from locals and tourists to artists and musicians, all the while keeping true to its infamous St Kilda spirit.
But it was the major alterations done in the 1970’s – which included the addition of the ‘Prince Bandroom’- that has solidified its legendary status to this day.
Additionally, The Prince Hotel was home to the prominent Melbourne dining institution Circa for many years. But now with a shifting change from fine dining to a relaxed menu and decor, comes Prince Dining Room: a colourful, vibrant and quaint restaurant setting service some of Melbourne’s best dishes
Prince Dining Room
The inception for the Prince Dining Room came to fruition from a unanimous decision to see The Prince Hotel return to its original role: a meeting place for St Kilda natives, friends, families and guests to experience exceptional food and drink in a quaint surrounding.
“We want to bring the Prince back to its roots as an icon that services the local community, and a destination as one of Melbourne’s great restaurants,” says General Manager Reg Lodewyke.
“That means great food, great drinks and service with St. Kilda’s signature flair.”
On entry, Prince Dining Room is immediately eye-catching, but not in an overwhelming way. It’s naturally beautiful, and the refurb is just what the iconic space needed; it’s inviting and warm.
Iva Foschia of IF Architecture has fused St Kilda’s renowned themes of glamour and grime to create a light, bright space filled with custom furniture that is rich in character. Her clever use of contrasting colours, textures and finishes throughout the restaurant space is refreshing and exciting.
Prince Dining Room boasts fantastic natural light which falls perfectly on the crowding of Velvet champagne-coloured booths found around the dining room space. There is also a 16-seat group table and an enclosed courtyard featuring terrazzo flooring; quite beautiful!
On the menu
At the helm of the open kitchen are Head Chef Dan Cooper (ex-Garden State Hotel, Circa) and Executive Chef Dan Hawkins (ex-Stokehouse, Longrain) who have both come together to curate a unique menu intended to share.
Inspired by bold and unique Mediterranean flavours, you can expect items on the menu like Raw Kingfish with horseradish, ginger and lime; burrata with preserved tomato; BBQ rump cap with cipollini onion and harissa butter; and Western Plain pork belly with red chermoula and fennel.
The flavoursome menu incorporates ingredients sourced from local markets, the St Kilda Veg Out garden and a personally curated network of regional growers, producers and fishermen; the proof is in the pudding! Both chefs have selected each ingredient with a predetermined purpose in mind, a seasonal value and a local significance.
“While working on the food concept for Prince Dining Room we considered global food trends, but more importantly, global food issues,” says Hawkins.
“The deeper we went, the more defined our food ethos became. We now work within a simple triangle of local-sustainable-ethical as the foundation of our food ethos. When deciding on a potential product for a particular dish, we always refer back to this triangle.”
Humble and genuine, the shift to a more relaxed dining approach – much like the change in menu direction – showcases Prince Dining Room as a new character with a new voice – one that embraces a new era of dining.
To book a table at Prince Dining Room, or to even stay a night at the new and improved hotel, visit the website HERE
The Prince Hotel
2 Acland St, St Kilda