Claypots Evening Star (& Seafood Bar)

Claypots Evening Star

Corner Cecil & York Streets
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
03 9645 5779
Claypots Evening Star on Urbanspoon

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I think good seafood isn’t one of Melbourne’s strengths. I’ve dined at a number of seafood-focussed places, and they’re generally unmemorable… EXCEPT Claypots!

Claypots Evening Star 2

Normally, I’d go to Claypots in St Kilda. But this time round, I chose to take my visiting folks to the South Melbourne branch and give that a go. We’d just finished grocery shopping at South Melbourne Market that afternoon, so having lunch here, at the market itself, was convenient.

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It wasn’t too busy at lunch time that Saturday. Fit-out is vibrant and, I believe, quite Spanish… with bold red walls, coloured maritime tiles, and a central feature bar where you can watch the cooking happen.

Claypots Evening Star 4262Sesame Half Shell Scallop (Hervey Bay) 4ea

The menu consists of tapas-style small dishes. Lunch started on a high with these succulent, perfectly cooked scallops. The sauce was vinegary piquant with an Asian hint of sesame oil. Mom kept shaking her head, exclaiming “Wow!!”.

Claypots Evening Star 4272Grilled King Prawn w Coriander Sambal 9ea

Equally loved were these legendary king prawns. A must-have at St Kilda branch, I was happy to see this dish featured here too, although served a little differently. My folks were just stunned at how fresh, chargrilled and tasty these prawns were.

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The thing about Claypots is you’re able to get seafood straight-up. It’s cooked simply… grilled or pan-fried, with head, legs, shells everything! And then the freshness of the seafood does the rest of the job.

Claypots Evening Star 4277Scampi (New Zealand) 8ea

All that said… despite its sweet flesh, these grilled scampi were, according to dad, a little bit too ‘skimpy’ in the flesh department. Ha ha ha, now you know where my bad blog puns come from.

Claypots Evening Star 1Claypots Evening Star 4292Clams (SA) in Argueso Manzanilla & Garlic 12

These clams were nicely cooked. But the lemony-gingery sauce was on the salty side, which made it not as great for dipping breads in.

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Overall, my folks were still blown away by this meal. It’s tapas style… with smaller portions, casual counter seating, and friendly, easy-going service. A very nice experience.

Claypots Evening Star 4297Sth Melbourne Seafood Peddler, right outside Claypots. (Not sure whether they’re related)

Claypots Seafood Bar

213 Barkly St
St Kilda, VIC 3182
03 9534 1282

Three days later, I took my folks to Claypots’ mothership (in St Kilda) for lunch. That’s how much they enjoyed their previous meal at Evening Star.

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This place, I’m a lot more familiar with. You may want to read about my much enjoyed previous visit here. In terms of pointing out the differences between both places, I like how you automatically get a serve of turkish bread and dips on arrival here.

The menu changes on a daily basis, depending on what seafood gets sourced for that day. And even the cooking-style of each dish varies every day, although the theme generally revolves around Asian ingredients cooked Mediterranean-style.

Claypots Seafood Bar 4569Grilled King Prawn 10ea

But some dishes stay on the menu as stalwarts, like these glorious garlic king prawns. In St Kilda, they’re served in a small wok, still bubbling in oil, with a generous serve of turkish bread for you to dip into the amazing prawn oil.

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Lip-smacking crustaceous joy! Although mom did comment that South Melbourne’s prawns were cooked to a more chargrilled crisp than here.

Claypots Seafood Bar 4581Scallop w Chilli, Lime & Sesame 4ea

We also had a curiosity scallop each. The marinade tasted similar to Evening Star’s… tangy beautiful. But I thought the flesh was a touch firmer (overcooked?) than our previous meal’s.

Claypots Seafood Bar 4586Fish Head w Soy, Sesame & Ginger 25

Singaporeans love fish head. When I enquired about this dish, our waitress got excited too, explaining how it’s very delicious and good value.

And she wasn’t wrong, this dish was brilliant! For that afternoon, we got barramundi. It was chargrilled perfectly and then fried with a wonderful mix of Asian flavours, and served sitting on soft steamed rice with a serve of buk choy. Talk about umami **POW**!

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Of course, dad got to eat all of the head, purportedly the best part. But there were other segments of fish, including tail, that were served in that dish. The three of us ate this dish with such absolute pleasure.

Previously, I’d stick with the shellfish dishes at Claypots. But that afternoon has proven that even the fish dishes can be amazing. Claypots once again delivers, I look forward to revisiting either branch.