This week I took full advantage of a strangely warm March and headed to the Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula. From the dramatic ocean scenery to the rolling hills in the countryside, there is something here for everyone. New boutique coffee shops, restaurants and wineries continue to flourish which make some of the smaller towns a must visit in their own right.
Here are 10 of my favourite spots from this week…
1. If you’re looking for a quality brunch spot in Torquay, you can’t beat Cafe Moby. Located on the calmer side of the Torquay sea front, this cosy beach shack is full of character in its decor and furnishings. Smell the sweet smell of the ocean on the sunny front terrace or retreat indoors in winter and sink into one of their cosy couches. The coffee here is decent too as is the service.
2. Join the surfers at Third Wave Cafe on Torquay Ocean Beach and feel the sea breeze through your hair. Priding themselves on their quality coffee, Third Wave has embraced the current movement to produce speciality coffee with skilled brewing. They also offer a wide variety of light snacks for breakfast and lunch.
3. Just Fine Food in Sorrento for their famous vanilla slice. Claimed to be the best vanilla slice in the world, this sweet treat consists of impossibly creamy custard sandwiched between delicate layers of puff pastry and jam and finally topped with a dusting of icing sugar. Just don’t come here for anything else- the prices are extortionate!
3. Montalto Vineyard in Red Hill for its picturesque views, quality wines and gorgeous olive oil. The winery is a family business, run by John and his daughter Heidi. The Piazza and Garden Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a bottle of wine and a pizza while overlooking the spectacular surrounds. There is also a restaurant on site if you’re looking for something more formal.
4. Ten Minutes by Tractor for its restaurant and quality wines. True to its title, the winery consists of three vineyards, only ten minutes by tractor apart in space and time. The award-winning restaurant has chef Stuart Bell at the helm. The menu is driven by fresh regional produce and has a distinct French influence and, as expected, an impeccable wine list. Foodies won’t be disappointed here.
5. On the first Saturday of the month, escape the city and head down to the Red Hill Community Markets. Featuring over 200 stalls of gourmet produce, fresh fruit and vegetables, quality Australian made art and craft, this is a don’t miss experience in the Mornington Peninsula.
6. The Old Barber Shop in Richmond for their a-grade coffee and quality produce. Formerly the Barbers of Seville, this converted house has a cosy neighbourhood feel. The service is great so don’t be surprised if the baristas remember your order for next time.
8. Venture to the deep depths of Corrs Lane in the evening to No 16, climb the dimly lit staircase to Level 2 and push the doorbell. Here you will find Berlin Bar inspired by the city itself – once divided into East and West. In the West you can enjoy an opulent style bar with plush furniture and cosy candlelight whereas on the East you can sit in a communist style bunker complete with bunk beds. Just make sure you bring your passports.
9. Section 8 Container Bar in Tattersalls Lane – a must for any bar crawl in Melbourne. The junkyard styled bar is largely constructed from recycled materials – think makeshift chairs made from wooden shipping palettes. The buzzing beer garden is always busy so be prepared to line up at peak times.
10. My ridiculously simple No Bake Passionfruit Cheesecake - a delicious treat for a summer’s day.
What have been your favourite foodie finds in your town this week?