Wednesday, May 11, 2011

DOC - Main Street Mornington

Where DOC Mornington is now, some run-down old buildings were. These had no place in Toorak's southern campus: Mornington. Now with million $ apartments above and on the ground floor a gastophile experience no hard core diner could prepare for. DOC is in Main Street Mornington down the salt water end. It is just over the road from Brass Razoo.

A modern up-market, up-beat restaurant which "spits" Italian in your face. The food is Italian, the goods (sold in-shop) are Italian, the waiters are Italian the music is CRAP! Let's get the yucky bits over and done with first. Try sitting in a knockout Italian restaurant, in a prime Mornington location, waited on by gorgeous young Italian men, eating traditional Italian food and listening to techno crap up loud. YUCK!! Did I put you off this place, please don't let me. Now for the nice bits.

The decor of the restaurant is modern. The kitchen is within sight of most customers. I like the feeling of knowing where my food is coming from. The restaurant is as much about preparing and server food as it is about selling it. The range and variations of food products sold is beyond description. But think imported Italian. Go to the "store" and take a look for yourself and while you're there, have a meal.

My wife and I ordered pizza. This is served as a genuine Italian pizza which most Australian men describe as too thin. Pizza is meant to be a thin dry crust with a smattering of spicy, aromatic ingredients. NOT TWO INCHES OF HAM AND A SHIT LOAD OF OTHER INGREDIENTS. Sorry I feel strongly about this. Unfortunately this genuine style Italian pizza needed a nappy change. The base was far too wet. Not only my pizza but other pizza lovers suffered the same fate. A dry crispy base please. Mine was the mushrooms and truffle oil. A great pizza spoiled by a wet ass!

Service is good but you will find yourself shouting above the noise of other customers and techo-crap-rap-syncopated-noise competing with conversing humans. How about some soft jazz, Italian style music or NONE! Oh, I said I would get the yucky parts over first. Wines are good but not a huge selection. Beer, Peroni of course.
Go there, be knocked-out by the sheer mass of product held within the store, try the food and the young Italian men and decide for yourself. Book though, many love it already. DOC or not? You decide.

Note: My wife re-visited here with a group of friends and had an awful experience.It was noisy and the piazzas were embarrassing. Try it yourself. Some of our very respected friends love it here and go regularly so it may just be us. But I doubt it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Montalto - Red Hill Morington Peninsula

This would be one of the few restaurant/wineries I have been to where I really did feel like I was in another country. Montalto is a massive estate combining open outdoor eating, alfresco, wine tasting, indoor fine dining and an extensive sculpture park. Once I sat at our out door table, amongst the vegetables and herbs we were about to be served, I just had this over-whelming feeling I was in the south of France or Tuscany region Italy.

We secured a table early (11am) by putting coats on the table (there is no booking, be early) and ventured into the tasting room. There was many whites and reds ready to sacrifice themselves on your pallet. And try all five of the olive oils and olives. I settled on a Sav blanc and my wife a Pinot. Back to the tables for lunch.

You need your imagination to picture sitting "in" a veggie and herb garden of glorious colours and smells. There is no other word for it. You "smell" curry sage and fresh green, healthy looking veggies in very much a provincial French setting. You are in another country and you are looking across many acres of rolling vines of green and brown coloured from autumn's icy touch.
Your vista vanishes into the rolling hills beyond the valley. Mist veils the vines and the hills themselves are capped. Big white brollies provide some shade from the odd sprinkle of rain or hot sun.

Pizza is very much the selection for the outdoor diner. And though the pizzas were satisfactory they are not mind shattering. The selection of olives
we had prior to the pizza were delicious. You must try the olives. Once fed and watered take the walk through the sculpture park. The trek is steep and stony. Take a pair of walkers for the culture tour. Don't miss the art, some is excellent.

As a complete package Montalto is hard to beat. My wife and I have been to France and Italy and the Montalto experience is as close as you will get to country Europe. If you sit indoors you will miss the smells, the cent and sense that you are somewhere else. In the herb garden your body may be an hour from home but your heart and mind will be in another land. Travel there.