Marco Valcárcel Alonso has been appointed as sous chef at St Kilda restaurant Pontoon.

Before joining the Van Haandel Group, Valcárcel Alonso worked at restaurants including Mugaritz, Nineu and Stokehouse St Kilda.

The chef’s arrival coincides with a new culinary direction for Pontoon, which will now revolve around Basque-inspired dishes.

Valcárcel Alonso has worked closely with Pontoon head chef Rhys Hunter to create a new menu designed for sharing.

Dishes include jamon croquettes and baked mussels with saffron aioli and pangrattato. A paella marisco is also on offer alongside pil pil, slow-cooked lamb shoulders with ajo blanco sauce and dry-aged rib-eye with charred vegetables.

Group sommelier Gavin Cremming has updated the wine list, which now has a focus on Spanish drops including a 2016 Toma ‘Tinto’ Garnacha Tempranillo from Navarra and a 2015 Lagar Da Xestosa Mencia from Monterrei. A range of winter cocktails and sangria are also available.

Image credit: Simon Shiff 

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