The Village Belle

202 Barkly St, St Kilda

If you remember The Village Belle as the infamously gritty pub it was in the 90’s, you’ll be in for quite a shock when you see its sleek new revamp. The 128-year old establishment has been reinvigorated into a luxe drinking hall and restaurant, complete with industrial finishes, sunny outdoor terraces and four distinct bar areas. Designed by award-winning chef Mathew Mcartney, the menu presents a melting pot of cuisines, harmoniously balancing gourmet fare with relaxed pub food. Choose between gourmet share plates, pastas, steaks, charcuterie boards and good old-fashioned burgers, with dishes for the little ones on offer too. Their inventive list of cocktails is also noteworthy. Open morning til night, the diverse venue adapts to every occasion, from family lunches to vivacious catch-ups with friends.

Plain Sailing

144 Ormond Rd, Elwood

If you’ve ever been to Tall Timber in Prahran, Left Field in Carnergie or Coin Laundry in Armadale, then you’ll hardly need convincing on the hospitality group’s gleaming new installment in the series. The airy and spacious eatery follows a similar formula to its predecessors (an inspiring menu, artisan coffee, chic interiors), though it’s imbued with a distinctly Elwood kind of vibe. The light-doused space is awash with timber, giving it a coastal look and feel, complete with sophisticated terrazzo benchtops and edgy light fittings. The menu is also cohesive with the seaside locale, boasting fresh and health-focused dishes like beetroot cured ocean trout and cinnamon quinoa and chia bircher with rose poached pear. With ample outdoor seating perfect for soaking up the summer sun, Plain Sailing epitomises all that makes Elwood so exceptional.

In the realm of lifestyle, Elwood is a trove of treasures. Here, cafes sit at the top of their game, across from restaurants that put the city’s finest to shame. Still a village locale at heart, family businesses rule the fort along the suburb’s main shopping strips.

With the beach to your left and luscious parks to your right, residents of Ensemble enjoy a flawless location with all Elwood has to offer right at their fingertips. Welcome to your village.

Mr Tuppy

Housed in what was formerly an old news agency, Mr Tuppy masters the part retro milk bar, part cafe trend. A suite of lollies and an ice-cream cabinet of artisan gelato greet you on arrival, so you know you’re in for a good time. Out the back, tables and chairs sit within spacious, industrial-chic interiors. The eatery’s main point of difference, however, is its menu; a perfect amalgamation of Cambodian street food and Melbourne-style brunch.

The King of Tonga

Within walking distance of Ensemble, The King of Tonga is one of Elwood’s best-kept secrets, tucked away inconspicuously on Tennyson Street. Adorned in Pacific Island-inspired décor, the cosy little bar boasts a generous selection of zesty cocktails, an extensive wine list and a choice of tapas share plates. With live music on weekends and a friendly, hospitable atmosphere, the bar will no doubt become your regular haunt.

Elwood Supermarket

Small in size, plentiful in offering. Elwood Supermarket stocks a diverse range of grocery essentials, fresh produce, deli goods and beyond. You can also buy your wine here, with quite the impressive collection on offer. The pinnacle of convenience, all this is a mere 4-minute walk from the doorstep of Ensemble.

South Village Trading

98 Ormond Rd, Elwood

South Village Trading presents a one stop shop at its most stylish. Homewares, furniture, gifts, fashion, accessories and beauty products are all part of the small business’ impeccably curated repertoire; where each piece is underscored by a common thread of Australian quality. South Village Trading was founded by interior stylist Stephanie Haddon, who after years of property styling, decided she wanted to share her designerly passion with the world in the form of a sunny little store on Ormond Road. Combining Scandi and coastal motifs, here, well-known Australian labels like Nicole Fendel, Bandhini, Globe West and Prene are housed among pieces from emerging local designers. With a selection that changes on the weekly, a wave of candle-scented, pastel-coloured euphoria washes over anyone who enters this delightful store.

The Esplanade

Melburnians far and wide rejoiced when it was announced their beloved Esplanade would be reopening. Reimagined with the utmost reverence by Sandhill Road (Garden State Hotel, The Prahran Hotel), the St Kilda institution still possesses all of its original character, though now, it’s been tinged with some new and improved pizzazz. Multi-faceted, the venue boasts multiple bars, three eateries, five levels and an extensive line-up of musicians. Amble over from the beach for a late afternoon sip.

Elwood Park

Feel the soft sea breeze on your skin as you decamp under a Norfolk Island Pine at Elwood Park. Just metres from the bay, the shady expanse makes for an idyllic place to escape from the sun after an afternoon spent down on the shore. Playing host to a playground, picnic spots and sporting fields, the park could not be more perfect for a day spent relishing the outdoors with your close ones.

Elsternwick Park

Encompassing 14 hectares of rolling greenery and lush, leafy trees, a sense of tranquillity washes over anyone who visits Elsternwick Park. Just 850m from home, enjoy an ample array of amenities and picturesque displays of flora and fauna. A lake sits at the southeastern pocket of the park, encircled by a walking path perfect for leisurely morning strolls. A tennis centre, sports arena and multiple playgrounds are also situated here, promoting physical activity among verdant surrounds.

Elwood Beach
& Foreshore

Ormond Esplanade, Elwood

Pristine sand, bluer than blue water and sweeping views of the city skyline. Elwood beach is the jewel of the suburb, located just 5 minutes from Ensemble by car. Known for being safe and family-friendly, spend days relaxing on the shore with your loved ones, where it’s all too easy to feel like you’re on holiday. Step off the shore to one of Elwood’s seaside eateries, including Elwood Bathers and Point Ormond Cafe. Promoting a healthy lifestyle, the adjacent bay trail paves the way for bike rides, jogs and strolls, winding through to St Kilda and eventually Port Melbourne. On Elwood foreshore, there’s also a playground for the little ones to play on, as well as picnic and BBQ areas for summer soirees.

St Kilda
Botanical Gardens

Tennyson St, St Kilda

A sublime little oasis in the midst of cosmopolitan hustle and bustle, the St Kilda Botanical Gardens is one of Melbourne’s most picturesque retreats. Established in 1859, the gardens are open from sunrise to sunset, and are just 10-minutes from Ensemble by foot. Along a tree-lined path, take leisurely strolls around the grounds and admire verdant greenery and vibrant flowerbeds. A conservatory has also been established here, housing a myriad of exotic sub-tropical plant species. On warm days, the glistening lake makes for a perfect picnic backdrop, where the famous Rain Man statue sits encircled by ducks. There’s also a collection of chessboards here – some regular sized, one giant – for engaging both your mind and competitive side. And, when the sun gets too hot, find retreat under the quaint Victorian-style gazebo.