Posts Tagged ‘Mornington’

I’ve been hearing about the Continental Deli and Restaurant, DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar located in Mornington for a while now. It certainly seems to polarise people, with what I can only call their interesting approach to hospitality – I’ve read some less than impressive (read scathing) reviews. So when Katie suggested pizza at DOC’s for Dinner a few weeks back when Melissa and Shane where in town, well, I was a little apprehensive. However, one thing I have noticed about DOC is that it is normally quite full, normally with a waiting list of groups to be seated. When we arrived it was very busy – the middle of the tourist season in Mornington is never a good time to try to get seat anywhere, but it seemed especially busy at DOC. We sat at the window waiting for a table in the very overcrowded seating area, and after a bit of a wait we were hurriedly shown to our table.

Looking at the menu, the Pizza’s aren’t cheap – and I already knew that was going to be the case – sure if you compare these pizza’s with a take away place, then yes, they are expensive. But the point a lot of people obviously miss, is that these are not your standard run of the mill pizza’s. We ordered three pizza’s and Melissa ordered the Lasagne. Made in the Italian style, the pizza’s are thin and not too crispy and have a light topping of a tomato based sauce and a scattering of creamy melting disks of fresh Mozzarella. Toppings are generally pretty sparse as well, so you get to enjoy the individual flavours and notice the quality of the ingredients. To be honest, these would have to be some of the best pizza’s I’ve ever tried – the base was so good that we ate the crusts dipped in the olive oil that was provided on the table as though it was a delicious warm flat bread – And Katie never eats her crusts!

There’s no doubting the quality of the food or the ingredients -the service on the other hand is somewhat eccentric. It seems as though their hiring policy is that the waiter must be from Italy first, and training or experience in hospitality in not necessarily required. The wait staff aren’t all that attentive, some of them actually seem put out to be serving you and would rather be having fun with the other staff members… However, the vibe at the restaurant is fun and frivolous. The wait staff seem to be having a great time with each other and are often yelling across the bar, or joking with one another – If you don’t take the waiters too seriously and go to simply enjoy good quality authentic food, I’m sure it will be a worthwhile experience.

Note: Once again my phone was playing up – so no photos for this one…

D.O.C Mornington on Urbanspoon

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Located right down the end of Main Street Mornington, Boyz 4 Breakie is a popular place to get that bacon and egg fix so often needed on a Saturday or Sunday morning after…  After a big day spent adventuring down the Great Ocean road yesterday, none of us felt much like cooking so the decision was made to head down to Boyz 4 Breakie. A good time to get a late breakfast before heading back up to the city and saying goodbye to Melissa and her Mum, Maria as they return to Sydney. I’ve been a few times to Boyz 4 Breakie and it’s always packed – probably because the food has always been pretty decent.

When we arrived today, Melissa spotted another table finishing off what looked like three burgers – I was of course intrigued. Further investigation revealed that one of the menu offerings was the three Breakie Burger Sliders! Happy days I thought, I grab those thank you very much. Melissa ordered the same, with Katie getting a big Breakfast type of arrangement and Maria ordering the Pancakes. Katie really enjoyed her breakfast and I was lucky enough to sample a little bit of her plate. The chipolatas were really good and the scrambled eggs were lovely. Maria enjoyed her pancakes, and everyone thought their coffees were nice – god I hate coffee… But I wont go off on that rant – I had a T2 Tea, in a pot, English Breakfast, just the way I like it – a civilized way to start the day.
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The Breakie Burgers came with Black Angus beef patties, bacon, fried eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomato relish, all served in-between three rather generously sized, white bread, sesame seeded slider buns. The patties were more of a back note – cooked medium and lightly herbed, put together with good quality meat, not overly beefy – they worked well, allowing the bacon and eggs to be the stars of the show.

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The eggs were fried, still runny, one exploded on me and the yolk went all over my hand and arm, thankfully missing my clothes – I love that runny egg yolk on a burger – so good. The bacon was salty and had a nice grill flavour and light char marks, and the relish really rounded out the sliders. All in all, one of the better burgers I’ve had recently – and it was for breakfast. Great way to start the day, I give them a solid 7. Very nice.

Boyz 4 Breakie on Urbanspoon

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I’ve been to Whispering Vines Café a couple of times now, and on each occasion I’ve had a lovely meal – they often have really interesting specials – the beef wellington I had here as a special was outstanding. It’s also a really lovely spot, weather depending, outside is really nice, but I’ve been here when it was blowing a gale and the rain was pouring, inside it was nice and cosy and it was fun to watch the rain clouds roll over the countryside.

On the latest visit to Whispering Vines, we were lucky to actually get a table! Mum, for some unknown reason, had decided that there was no need to book… Well of course the place was packed on such a sunny spring day, and we were told there would be a 30min wait – there were a few of us, Mum, Katie, Jo and Sharron. Katie was not happy with the idea of having to wait for so long as she was not feeling well – thankfully we were only waiting for 15minutes before we were lead to a table out the back, in a nice shaded spot outside. Crisis averted!

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Once everyone was seated, Jo and I decided to go off and do a tasting of their wines to find one to match with out meal – I had decided to order the special – Eye filet with potato dauphinoise, I think from memory it was $38. Jo was not being very creative and ordered the Pork belly again – sure it’s really good, but why not try something different (Says the bloke that orders burgers all the time…). Anyway, Jo focused on the whites and I had a sample of the reds. I wouldn’t say I’m a regular wine drinker, but I do enjoy a well matched glass with a meal. Generally speaking, I’m a fan of Mornington Peninsula Pinots – I like their juicy, berry driven style, and the boldness of what they produce them down here.  They’re not soft and boring – the Mornington Pinot is different from other regions and I like that. It’s also probably because I like the fact that I grew up on the peninsula and I kind of feel that I should support the region… Anyway, I chose their 2012 Trofeo Estate Pinot Noir which I thought would hold up to the steak, and Jo went with their 2013 Trofeo Chardonnay to match with her pork belly.

The food by the way was lovely as usual, although my steak wasn’t the best cut of meat I’ve had – it just lacked for flavour – everything else was quite good. Mum enjoyed her duck and Sharron’s lamb looked good. Katie was being a little weird, which is fine, she’s pregnant so she can do what she likes – she decided to have an almond croissant and some chips… Interesting combo, but apparently very tasty. We also got an extra bowl of the fries with the smokey chilli mayo.

As far as a winery café goes, it’s a lovely spot, that’s got very good, reasonably priced food (Especially for the peninsula, for some reason it’s quite often exhorbantly expensive down here!). The winery’s own wine by the glass is also good value. However, I would point out that the cellar door prices for their wine is a bit much – $32 for a starting price? I can get better Mornington Pinots cheaper elsewhere. I guess the fact that you can really only get it at the cellar door makes it more expensive as it’s exclusive? Personally,  I’d stick to picking your favourite from the tasting and then enjoying a glass with a nice meal. A great spot of a long lunch on a warm spring weekend afternoon.

Note: I actually went to Trofeo’s a few weeks back, I just haven’t had to the time to write this lovely place up. I think their menu seems to change quite a bit so I’d check online first, but also keep in mine that their specials are usually pretty good.

Whispering Vines Cafe on Urbanspoon

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I’ve been to Tully’s a few times to pick up some fresh produce and visit the deli, and they always have a really good selection and great quality fresh food. When Katie suggested we try brunch at the cafe next door I figured that at the very least they’d have good ingredients to start with so brunch here must be half decent.

It was a very windy Sunday morning so Katie and I elected to sit inside – the seating was quite squashy and I would imagine it would be really cramped if the place was busy – thankfully we were there pretty early so it wasn’t full. Both Katie and I were pretty hungry so we wasted no time in ordering breakfast. Katie ordered the eggs (scrambled) and bacon option, which also comes with sautéed spinach & tomatoes on sourdough bread $14.95. I ordered the Farmhouse Breakfast which comes with poached eggs fagioli (borlotti beans), sautéed mushrooms, pure pork bambino sausage, sautéed spinach, tomatoes, and ciabatta toast – $18.95.

The food was clearly good quality as you would expect when you are starting with top quality fresh ingredients – For example the spinach was exceptionally good – only just wilted, it allowed the star if the show, baby spinach leaves to shine though. The roasted tomato was so flavoursome and the mushrooms were lovely.  However, although the ingredients were clearly top quality, the dishes themselves needed a bit more attention to detail. Katie’s coffee seemed like it was rushed and the top of her latte, was just a mess. I know I’m no coffee drinker, but I’m always impressed with the patterns on the foam – this one was just a mess of ugly bubbles (Apparently this has no effect on the flavour).  My poached eggs… well they didn’t seem like poached eggs – they seemed like my Nana had made them in her special poaching mold, which really steams the eggs which gives a different texture than poaching them. The bread wasn’t buttered, and no butter was provided which I find a little bit annoying, although the bread itself was amazingly good. Whilst the breakfast was enjoyable, the end result just didn’t deliver on the potential, a bit hit and miss for me.

Apple Espresso @ Tully's on Urbanspoon

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Growing up in Mornington, the Royal Hotel was quite often the location of a special meal out and there are a lot of happy memories associated with this particular venue.  It’s always been one of my favourite locations for a drink on the veranda overlooking the bay on a nice sunny day – it’s a great location to soak up the sun and the views – It just feels like home. So when Paul and Ness suggested that we catch up for lunch in Mornington – the Royal seemed like as good a place as any. Now I should mention that the Royal is really two restaurants – the fancier bistro at the front, which as my sister reports, has been “done up” a bit since I last went, and then the tavern out the back which is where we went for lunch. The Tavern has a pub feel to it, and a menu to match – it’s more of a blokey hangout than the front bistro. It has a nice fire place and is much brighter and modern than it used to be. Anyway, so Paul and Ness, along with Katie and I saddled up to the bar and ordered our lunch in the back tavern section of the Royal. I ordered the Wagyu burger of course – Ness also decided the Wagyu burger was the way to go, while Paul sampled the steak sandwich and Katie went with the meatballs and a side of chips.

The burger that came out can only be described as a “Man burger” – they know their market well here. You get a big slab of Wagyu beef patty – you will not leave this place hungry let me tell you, it’s huge. So first impression is – gee that’s big. The bun is just a standard white bread roll, that could have come out of any bakery in town, a bit too much crust for me, but otherwise not offensive. It also comes with bacon, zucchini pickles, tomato and lettuce and of course gruyere cheese (Because it’s Mornington and if something’s trendy, then it has to be on the menu – note the Wagyu beef patty…). It was a sauce yourself kind of burger –  which I’ve never been a huge fan of, although there was some aioli and a whole selection of mustard and sauce to choose from.

 

The patty itself as I said is huge, but it’s also pretty juicy – cooked to a medium well, it was good quality beef, with a light spice background note that paired well with the gruyere. The pickles cut through the richness of the meat, and the bacon added some saltiness, however the burger was dominated by the beef. I was pleasantly surprised by this burger – I hadn’t gone out looking for a burger so it was nice to find one in Mornington. I’d give it a solid 7.

The Royal Hotel on Urbanspoon

Another day, another burger – ah… such is my life.

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I just happened to be down in Mornington visiting my Mum, actually I was helping her buy a new car. So quite nicely, she offered to shout me lunch. Naturally I selected a place that just happened to have a Wagyu burger on the menu – what a happy coincidence… Actually I had heard about this particular burger from a good friend who’s culinary tastes I hold in high regard. Steeples in Mornington looks like a pokies venue – well it is as pokies venue, but it is also a bistro. It’s located at the back of the Mornington racecourse and is the kind of place frequented by the over 75’s set – they love their seniors discounts. I’m pretty sure the average age of the diners in there today was a young 83. The menu caters to the local crowd with the standard bistro favourites, but it also has some interesting options. I elected to ignore all of that and focused solely on the Burger. Ok, that’s a lie, I also ordered the oysters Kilpatrick, but only because Mum was buying. At $26 the burger comes with a side salad and sweet potato fries. Now that’s not cheap – and we are not in a classy restaurant by any stretch of the imagination – honest suburban bistro yes, two hat restaurant, no. So that leaves you thinking that the burger would have to be pretty damn good to be worth it’s price tag. Actually, on reflection – all restaurants in Mornington are overpriced, the drawback of being a bit of a tourist destination I guess, (Gee as a local boy who escaped “Morno” as soon as I could, it still feels wrong to think that people would visit voluntarily…) so you probably can’t compare the price with say, Rockpool which was only $24! (I’m just saying…) Anyway, lets not worry about all that, lets talk burgers.

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as you can see from the photo’s, the burger looks impressive and tasty on arrival with a generous Wagyu patty topped with melting Swiss cheese, a good serve of bacon and onion jam, all sandwiched between a nicely toasted sesame seed bun. Visually, big tick – and as well all know, the first bite is with the eyes.  Picking up the burger, I noticed that the bun felt fresh and soft, a little smaller than some burgers, but still a good size. Overall the burger was fairly weighty due to the rather generous Wagyu patty.  Side note – The bun is no longer a Brioche bun, not sure why the change – mine was a standard white bread – not really all that dissimilar to something you might pick up from a supermarket taste wise. First real bite and the meat was juicy and meaty, a very “umami” burger – with the sweet onion jam and the Swiss cheese complimenting the rich beefy Wagyu. The bacon added another hit of meat – as if you needed it. Unfortunately they had cooked the meat well done, I know this is due to the customers that they would serve here, you would never get a burger not cooked all the way though anywhere in Mornington – but at least give me the option, a medium cooked patty would have been twice as good.

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With all burgers of this style, I find that they can be a little too “one note”, and this burger was no exception. If they don’t absolutely nail all the elements, by the end, I find I’m always left wanting something more. Again this was the case with the steeples burger. 4 elements not including the bun – all going in the same direction. It just doesn’t blow me away unless each element is outstanding (There’s no room for error in these types of burgers). On the other hand, had there been a Smokey note from the grill or the bacon, or some sharpness from a pickle to cut through, perhaps some form of freshness, an interesting sauce or relish to contrast the flavours – there may have been some room to play with, but alas it was not to be. Ultimately, I would say that this was a good burger, with some high points, that just needed something else to push it into the great category.

Steeples on Urbanspoon