Mount Eliza, on the Mornington Peninsula, has many quaint and interesting homesteads, farms, vineyards and restaurants. It also has history and some notoriety with the multi-acre homesteads of Sir Reginald Ansett and the Coles family. I, in a working capacity, have visited both properties and have seen first-hand their size and grandeur.
One other property, which has intrigue around it, I did visit was Morning Star Catholic Boys Home in Sunnyside Lane. This was first established in 1932 and extended in 1944 by the Franciscans. The boys were not always treated well and some, being locked in cells for punishment, did not survive. I did see the cells before the whole complex was first transformed into a grand domestic home and later restaurant, vineyards, accommodation and reception center. Rumor has it that some boys still roam the buildings and grounds. I have seen boy’s names penciled in nooks and crannies around the buildings.
Morning Star Restaurant and complex has some of the most beautiful gardens and grounds you will see anyway. Not only is it a large vineyard but also has a gallery on the grounds. There is lots of good reasons to visit here and give yourself the whole day to do so. My wife and I have eaten here a few times the most recent was early in 2012. We sat with a long table of a ten or so and enjoyed a two course meal while looking over the beautiful gardens. This was a Sunday afternoon and the restaurant was nearly full. Book ahead.
The food quality is high and in inverse proportion to the portion size. An entree of scallops is three scallops. I will say it again the food quality is high and the scallops were excellent. All at our table enjoyed the meals but most commented on the size. The wine list is extensive and supports local produce. Table service may depend on your waiter on the day. On our table service was OK and a little humorous. If you are a big eater or don’t like expensive meals Morning Star may not fill your needs and you might be better satisfied at some of the Mornington pubs which are excellent. If fine dining, a stroll in the magnificent gardens and delicious food are what makes you smile, book a table at Morning Star, the experience will be no apparition.