Saturday, January 4, 2020

Welcome to Dine, Wine and Meet

Though we have dined and wined away around many countries throughout the world we do find some of the best eating places in our own backyard. The Mornington Peninsula and Southern Victoria region holds the best restaurants, cafes, wineries and meeting places we have ever come across. We are critical where we eat and are only loyal to those places which satisfy us on a number of levels.
Some areas we are “fussy” about are: food quality, ambiance, service, choice in both food and beverage, differentiation and verve. We still look for other new and exciting eateries to add to our list. Some of these places will be in other regions, not just Southern Victoria.

It is our intent to Blog the better places we frequent and the new places we find so that you may also try something new (or stay away from) the restaurants we visit. If we say it is good it is because we eat there and frequent that place. If you follow us to the restaurants we recommend, you too should come away pleased, and content and want to go back for more. Let us guide your craving for fine food, good wine/beer and sensational meeting places.

NOTE: Click on the highlighted text like this-> The Mornington Peninsula to go to the Web site.
Revisit: This is a short follow-up report about a revisit to the resturuant under comment.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mercato - Daylesford, Victoria

On a brief stay in Daylesford Victoria we visited Mercato restaurant for dinner. Make sure you book ahead. We did and on a Thursday night it did get busy. We are always happy to pay well for food we expect to be better than most. In this case we were not disappointed in fact we were very delighted. Not at Rock Pool standard but then at a third the price. My pork and the wife's fish were both of good portion and superbly prepared. You will not go hungry. We did add a side and I would suggest you do but share it. Leave room for dessert. Accompanying sauces and veggies were also right up there with what you expect really good, well cooked fine food should taste and eat like.

We stayed at Ambleside only ten minutes from the restaurant on the other side of town. I would suggest, if staying at Daylesford, you also stay here. In a word - "Excellent". Back to the restaurant. Service is excellent and efficient. No long waits for your meal as would expect in any classy establishment. Not a huge selection on the food menu but the drinks menus is as thick as an encyclopaedia. I'm sure though you will find a culinary temptation or two. We did.

Décor is old world-ish as is Ambleside. Daylesford can really take you back to the "feel" of early country Victoria. Both our desserts were also very good, add this the earlier great main, a glass of fine wine and a long black to finish off and your done. And done in a nice, no, in a very nice way.

Mercato is worth a trip to Daylesford just for a fine dining experience at a more relaxed price. Stay in Daylesford and cab there and back so you can share a bottle of the local grape. An overnight stay, a walk through a nice little town and a fine meal is a good way to recharge and relax. We did and we are going back for yet another recharge. Check this one out.

Forrest Brewing Company - Forrest, Victoria.

While staying at Separation Creek, on the west coast Victoria, we decided to drive back though the Otway's  to have lunch at Forrest Brewing Company. As advertised, more than a micro-brewer, it is a nice restaurant\café. Personally I didn't sample the beers as I was designated drive but did have one of the local reds. All good. Let's start with the staff. Very friendly, they just want your experience to be memorable. You can graze indoors or out. Being warmish we chose outside looking out over the main road. Not a bad spot as traffic was light and therefore no disturbing noise or petrol fumes. Before you plonk you buttocks down take a walk down the mains street. There is other eateries and I'm sure all good.

The drinks selection is extensive enough to satisfy most with, of course, the beer being the product you should try. Though I had none over lunch we did take away a four bottle sample pack of 500ml delights. The menu provided enough choices with the four of us all having something different. And what of the food? No complaints at my table. The four of us are real foodies and swing from fine dinning to quick café eating. Just one minor comment about the food; I had the ocean eight-legged bubble-headed wonder. Though tasty tough to chew, try something else.

Parking is off street and plenty of it. Just a very pleasant and friendly place to eat, old world feel, serene with lush surroundings and something different. From Melbourne it is a two hour drive and even if you are staying on the coast expect a one hour drive through hills. But then that's part of the fun, not that my three car sick passengers (winding hills and empty stomachs) will agree.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Atlantic - South Bank, Victoria

There should not be one bad restaurant in the South Bank complex. No matter which of the top restaurants you chose you should expect two things: high price and the best food and service you can get. None of the better restaurants have a problem with over-charging and some deliver on the money, others?

We dined at The Atlantic recently and came away very disappointed. They had no problem over-charging but had real problems in the kitchen. The food was very sub-standard not what I would expect from this area. We have dinned at South Bank many times. As you are well aware I rarely comment on the food (I'm not a food critic) except to make very general comments. But to press a point I will comment on my supposedly wood smoked Kingfish. Firstly there was only one very small piece of the fish which had any "smokey" flavours or aroma. And secondly the fish was mush! Wet mush. I'm not sure what you have to do to a piece of fish to break the texture down to soggy cardboard but that's what it was.

My wife also said every part of her meal, including vegetables and salad was very poor quality. These guys should be sacked from South Bank. On reading other comments, on other blogs others have made, at least half of them are very derogatory. Comments from bad service, bad food and over-charging. I am not the only one who has had a lousy experience here. STAY AWAY!!! Find the local Mc Donalds if you enjoy bad food. The food maybe bad but it will be right priced.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Little French Deli - Bonbeach Southern Victoria

The Little French Deli situated on Nepean Highway in Bonbeach must have started life a lot smaller. Maybe what looked like a bakery next door. It now is quite a reasonable establishment. On both occasions I have eaten here we have sat upfront, near the windows. There is a back area and outside area which would seat quite a few. On my first visit late Sunday afternoon, for cake and coffee, it was not all that good. My wife who had eaten here previously said we should come back for dinner.

With our foodie relations we dinned one evening on some fine French style food a few months later. This time the experience was an extreme delight. There is a reasonable wine and beer list and good selection of entrees and mains. The beef ragout had been suggested to me and was sensational. Service was Ok and friendly. Sitting opposite the bar was a little noisy, try for a window seat.

After just spending five and a half weeks in France and Europe I had developed a passion for Crème Brulee. Where better to order one in Oz. Well not here it appears. It was most unpleasant and had the consistency of vomit! Not happy for it had been a while since I had one. Possible the next time I order one here it maybe better. Or just don't take the chance.

With easy parking (in the evening at any rate), pleasant surroundings and only French staff you should enjoy the food and dinning experience. Book, they can get busy regardless of the size of the restaurant. Bon appetite.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Boathouse - Moonee Ponds, Victoria

Want a really nice place to dine on the northern side of Melbourne city. Why not go for a big open restaurant on the Maribyrnong River. You could sit outside on a sunny day and watch the walkers and cyclist on the walking track beside the rive and lookout over the water. You may also feel confident eating at a restaurant part owned by Gary Mehigan of master chef fame. But there is more at The Boathouse than all of that put together. There is good food.

The Boathouse is a modern, rustic-feel, relaxing eatery. You can dine indoors or out by the river. Parking is available nearby and there is a kids play ground right at the entrance. The wine and beer list is sufficient and staff are efficient and friendly and quite laid-back. A cosy lunch for two would find a home here. Don't wait for summer just rug-up and eat with the water birds.

Monday, June 6, 2016

IL Forno - Hampton, Victoria

IL Forno means "the oven". Great name for a restaurant. Hampton is well known for nice dining houses and with in-laws living in the area we find ourselves up this way more often. Nice modern feel though I felt the many family photos on one wall a little too much. The shop front is narrow, lookout for the entry. Street parking is possible but I would imagine on busy nights few spots will be found. I managed to park right out front, just lucky I guess.

You will not be crammed in here, there is good space between tables. Our waiter and possibly owner or part owner was knowledgeable and friendly and guided us through the many specials and dishes available. Most of us had different meals. The wine list is sufficient and the ordering of a beer was meant with a prompt coldie.  The food though was a bit of a let down. This was also felt by some others at our table. I rarely detail the food but when I ordered the Italian sardines I has met with a disappointing deep fried sardine mush filled croquet. I was expecting fish on my plate. And the pasta with pork belly ragout was pasta with a few knobs of pork mince. I had to even hut for the mince.

Without downing this pleasant looking establishment too much I would suggest you look elsewhere. The meals just did match an otherwise good looking restaurant which had all the promise. To say it was OK and not great is being kind. On the up side if you were wooing a partner a romantic meal would be on the cards here, just as long as you are not food critics.