Sunday, March 30, 2014

Paleo Cafe - Main Street Mornington

Fortunately in Australia, well I can speak for Victoria with authority, there is a rich variety of restaurants. Many different cultures are supported across many, many restaurants. Also different styles of foods are well supported. To name one, “Paleo”. Paleo is supposedly only very, fresh free range foods, prepared as nature intended. A great claim but I think in the end Paleo restaurants really only offer variations on foods you may obtain from, say, “healthy food” restaurants and cafes.  Yoghurts, eggs, bacon and berries are hardly anything startling when it comes to something “new”. How they are prepared and paired may vary in an attempt to offer something new. But do they?

Joining my family for a Paleo breakfast, in Main Street Mornington, I was expecting something very different. What I got and saw the others had was breakfast I would expect from the local pub. Eggs Benedict was Eggs Benedict, Yoghurt and Berries was just that and Banana Pancakes and Berries was, yes again, Banana Pancakes and Berries.  OK the ingredients were supposedly fresh and free range but many others can offer you this. I could see no real point of difference other than the cafe we eat at, Paleo Cafe , said they offer Paleo food where others don’t say that.

The cafe is bright, airy and clean with inside and outside (foot path) seating. Though the cafe only had a few customers inside (where we ate) it was very noisy. This time not from the chatter of customers but from the staff preparing coffees, grinding and whipping and organising service. But with a hard floor, high ceiling and no soft furnishings, I would imagine, if the cafe was full, it may be even noisier. Thank God there was no annoying music so often played at these trendy cafes.  At one point we could not hear each other across the table and once our meals were finished we went outside to continue our conversation.

Staff is very friendly, most helpful and there is plenty of parking. The meals though were disappointing. Others I was with had eaten there a few times. This time the meals were nothing like they had had only a few weeks earlier. Sauces were missing, the yoghurt was really runny and pancakes were a lot smaller than usual. My Eggs Benedict was just eggs with a runny yellow sauce which was not hollandaise.  My wife got one large mushroom for $23. Complaints were made at the table and four of the meals were refunded as offered by the manager. Quite a disappointing experience.

I was the only one who had eaten there for the first time. The others have enjoyed some great meals there in the past. Let’s just say they had an off day and the next time we eat there (if there is a next time) will be a lot better. Try it for yourself but I’m not convinced Paleo is really offering you anything better or different. Main Street Mornington is full of fantastic cafes and eateries. Go wild.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Long Table - Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula

When I say you want to go here for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner, thrust me you REALLY want to go here. The Long Table, nestled in the hills of Red Hill, is one of a number of really great looking restaurants and eateries. The Long Table not only looks the part, having a warm, friendly and rustic feel,  but they deliver on a promise.  Sit outside, inside down stairs with a view of the main road or up the back for a cosy lunch for two. Local produce is very well supported, the wine menu is sufficient and foods selection dreamy.  

The best news is the chef can cook. No he can REALLY cook! I went for two courses, Entre’ and Main. I rarely list what I eat in these reviews but this time (‘cause it was so bloody good) I’ll make an exception. First clean the hungry pallet with a local sparkly. While sipping this delightful drop with its pretentious fizz nibble away, savouring every morsel, at you Swordfish Sashimi in a little green chilli, fine strips of apple, and celery. Eat slowly you really don’t want this to end. Move to the better Sav. Blanc and enjoy your Otway pork shoulder, boudin noir, peach, fennel & BBQ sauce. This has been slow cook and should be eaten slowly. Enjoy! Is that a hint of mild curry? Yum.

Serving size is good but added to the above a shared side of potatoes. These were a little oilier than what I am use to but not unpleasant. Just looking at my wife’s Salmon, the way it has been cooked and served, I would say every meal will surprise here. Staff is friendly and parking is available but the car park can get full. If you like culinary surprises try out The Long Table. Be prepared to be indulged by the guy with the tall white hat in the kitchen. He REALLY knows how apples.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Green Olive - Red Hill, Morington Peninsula

Taking a slow drive through Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula, searching for an afternoon respite, we eventually ended up at Green Olive. On the day there was breath testing by police on quiet a few roads. Due to the fact we were driving around I got breath tested four times in one and a half hours. No problems with only one glass of white wine under the belt. The wine being an un-wood Chardonnay and accompanied by tapas.

Let’s just rewind a little and talk of the winery\restaurant.  The grounds are very pleasant and the eating areas the same. Inside or out, in the sun or in the shade, take your pick. You have the usual row of vines but if you sit outside you could sit in the veggie garden. Neat rows of rhubarb made for a very stylish almost ornamental garden display. I’d love to do it at home. So very nice, very green surrounds, clean air and from your elevated position, a view of the pound just a short stroll away. Inside the shop area there is lots of produce and items to purchase.  

Back to the wine and tapas. If you are going for a big lunch you may be disappointed, tapas is the order of the day. I was disappointed by our tapas serving which were a few slices of dry bread, a small bowl of even smaller olives in a lot of oil and an olive paste.  The dark olive paste was far to strong tasting, even bitter, not pleasant and I love my olive and olive dips. The un-wood Chardonnay I thought was excellent but to pricey at $40 a bottle at cellar door.

Parking is plentiful, staff is friendly and coffee looks good.  I can’t think of a good reason NOT to visit here and I can’t think of a good reason to visit. It was ordinary. I have been to much, much better in the area. I did like the wine and surrounds but that’s where it stops.