Pipis Kiosk review

Pipis still looks like a kiosk from the outside so the restaurant-style quality is unexpected.
Pipis still looks like a kiosk from the outside so the restaurant-style quality is unexpected. Photo: Simon Schluter

129A Beaconsfield Parade Albert Park, VIC 3206

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Opening hours Thu 6pm-10.30pm, Fri-Sat noon-10.30pm, Sun noon-4pm (kiosk: Mon-Wed 7am-1pm, Thu-Sat 7am-6pm, Sun 7am-4pm)
Features Outdoor seating, Accepts bookings, Views, Licensed
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9041 2814

For a country with so much coastline, I'm not sure we've worked out how to do seafood properly.

More than 60 per cent of the seafood we eat is imported. Information on sustainability isn't easy to decode. Farmed salmon is ubiquitous despite being blamed for environmental damage.

It's not even that easy to find a restaurant with a bay view.

'Snack attack' platter.
'Snack attack' platter. Photo: Simon Schluter

I'm not suggesting Pipis is an activist – it's simply a smart little beachfront restaurant serving excellent food in a charming space – but it does deliciously advocate for a better approach to eating seafood in Melbourne.

The owners are hospo buddies Tom Hunter (front of house) and Jordan Clay (kitchen), who have transformed an old kiosk at the end of Kerferd Road into a cosy place to watch the bay's moods while eating tasty and creative food.

The offering isn't all shelled and finned but there's a focus on seafood, much of it cooked over a wood-fired hearth.

Fish dishes are winter friendly, such as this ling.
Fish dishes are winter friendly, such as this ling. Photo: Simon Schluter

The "snack attack" array kicks a meal off swiftly, perhaps with delicate chowder, kangaroo jerky and fish croquettes made with the day's trim, milk-poached and melded with mashed potato and tarragon mustard. It's a next level potato cake.

We often think of seafood as summer fare but there are sensitive wintry preparations here. Gorgeous sea bream is served raw with mandarin, ginger and white soy.

Grilled swordfish – line-caught in Mooloolaba – is served with a cool-weather salsa of green olives, tarragon and dried apricot.

Sliced orange is confited then tossed with carrot and persimmon in a stunning winter-sunshine salad. It's typically fresh and zingy, with the honest, punchy flavours that are typical here.

Pipis also has a kiosk window for coffee and fish and chips, which you can eat on deck chairs or the pier.

The whole place still looks like a kiosk from the outside so the considered restaurant experience, and appealing wine list, is wonderful over-delivery from the get-go.

It's a credit to the Pipis team that it starts strong and continues to sail along swimmingly.

Rating: Four stars (out of five).