15 Feb Stepping Stone, South Yarra
Sitting on River St and aptly named Stepping Stone, the name represents their food philosophy: STONE stands for Seasonal, Traceable, Organic, Natural, and Ethical. People who follow the lifestyle, they dotingly call ‘stoners’.
It’s the latest venue from Clare Hu (Bluff Town, The Resident Cafe). The textures and flavours of the quality, locally-sourced ingredients are showcased by using simple cooking techniques; ingredients are kept to ‘al dente’ when possible, to preserve the flavour and texture of them in their natural state. The menu will change depending on the availability and quality of produce.
Specialty coffee is roasted in-house. The 8-hour single origin cold drip is amongst the best we’ve had. It’s crisp, clean and fruity. We’re somewhat surprised it doesn’t cost more. Ice tea is made daily, and today’s refreshing mix is made using lemon, peach, cucumber and black tea.
Their Runaway Dreamer is a smoothie bowl of pitaya, beetroot, banana, coconut milk, goji berries, chia, mango, vanilla, berries, and coconut yoghurt. We love the different textures and chunky bits in the smoothie, and the icy blocks of mango that remind me of the mango nectar icy poles mum used to make as a summer treat.
The Aloha Bowl is a poke-style bento with fresh salmon, seaweed salad, edamame, sweet potato, radish, tempura kale and a soy egg. The brown rice is well-seasoned, and the other ingredients are handled well. Top notch stuff.
Stepping Stone’s most recognisable dish would probably be the Kiss & Run Soldiers. Soft boiled dippy eggs are served in (brand new) egg cartons which are great for packaging the dish to-go, but are also the perfect shape for holding the eggs upright. Slices of sourdough toast, avocado, Istra bacon, tomato relish, and beetroot relish can be mixed and matched to your desires. It’s a novelty that brings back childhood memories, though I was never served soft boiled eggs this flash as a kid.
The Stone Salad is full of super greens (spinach, broccolini, green beans, and kale) paired with seed crisps, sprinkles of cauliflower rice, and stone-cooked crispy skinned salmon. The flavours and freshness of vegetables can really be tasted. For those who want something heavier and less veggie-centric, there’s the Peace Keeper – their bacon and egg bun that uses top quality ingredients.
A dinner menu was recently introduced, and though the daytime menu is still available at night, you’ll get to try other items like Vegan Pizza, Zoodles and Chicken Paella. These all come with a choice of sides. The Chicken Paella is made using turmeric-flavoured brown rice. It comes with grilled chicken breast, grilled corn on a cob with a lemon butter dressing, tomato, coriander, black beans, chives and green beans. Though it may not be cooked in the traditional way, the chewy brown rice still manages to have a few charred bits. Our side of green bean ‘chips’ are blanched and seared, drizzled with hoisin.
At the moment food is served only at the front yard and porch, but the indoors section will open later this year. Stepping Stone’s offering is fresh, vibrant and nutritious; a pleasant fit for South Yarra.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Stepping Stone as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
68 River St
South Yarra, VIC, 3141
(03) 9041 5957