Kirks on the Esplanade
774 Esplanade Mornington
(Visited October ’16)
We ventured to this hotel/pub style restaurant while still on hols… and by hols I mean in the deepest midst of never-ending unpacked boxes. I mean, when your kitchen stuff is God knows where, you really can’t cook up a meal, right? Especially when your potential dine-out view is something like this:
Yep. It was freezing cold and windy as I stepped out of the car that evening mid-October, and yet I still had to brace myself just to take a photo of the most spectacular coastline.
I could definitely get used to those views.
We headed into Kirks, and although we hadn’t booked ahead we still got a seat on that Tuesday night. We sat in the glass-house like section at the front of the restaurant, which in my humble opinion (and every other sane person’s I think) is the best seat in the house. There is seating behind this area, but the view of the water is further away, and really, unless you are sick of views like that (who are you, an alien?) I don’t know why you would choose to go anywhere else.
Although we received menus and all, and baby girl conveniently received one of those kid’s packs with crayons, stickers and activity paper, it was an order-at-the-counter type of establishment, so the food and drink were both ordered further into the restaurant behind us, with food at one section, and drinks ordered at the bar.
There are also toilets in between the bar and food ordering sections, while a TAB functions at the left of the establishment once you walk further up the stairs, operational every day of the week. This place has really got something for everybody. Food, alcohol, entertainment, and Port Phillip Bay views.
Hubbie got me a cab sav and himself a beer.
The surroundings were peaceful, with definite locals around, now ourselves included (!) and there was a calm comfort in the air, the restaurant keeping the cold Spring air out and its inhabitants warm inside, with only the view of the water to remind them of the elements outside. It felt like a pub-style yet classy establishment.
Baby girl’s meal arrived first as requested, and it was hot!
Spaghetti with Napoli sauce
She had also received a free drink as it was a kid’s meal special. She enjoyed her spaghetti, it was a hit with her, and the serving was definitely generous. With her main came our entrée, which was
Roasted pumpkin bruschetta – Oven-roasted pumpkin tossed with semi-dried tomatoes & basil served on mozzarella toasted ciabatta
It was exactly as the description told us, with the pumpkin element adding a vegetable warmth usually missing in bruschetta options, and the mozzarella giving a good dose of cheesiness! It was a hearty meal, and we were already half way to full-ville when our mains arrived:
Hubbie’s YG Aged & Grain-fed Portland Scotch Fillet 300g with a red wine and mushroom sauce, with chips and salad
And my Chilli Tiger Prawns, tossed in a cream & white wine sauce, served with fragrant jasmine rice & a side salad
Hubbie thought his steak was amazing! Impressing the fussy butcher, WHAT?! Yep, you heard right. Although he had ordered his steak medium to well, it was a tad more medium… but that was acceptable. The other components on his plate were a bonus, because let’s face it, when a butcher orders steak, all we’re really gonna judge is the meat, right?
I had been longing for a classic style of chilli prawns. And this didn’t disappoint. The sauce wasn’t the most chilli-rific, but the prawns… there were 11 of them! Count that! That, made me happy. When I order prawn ‘whatever,’ I want prawns, and a decent quantity too. It was good to see that though the price was equally decent for an institution of that calibre, that the quantity of meal (and components on the plate) matched it. By the end, I was content.
After our decent meals, me giggling my way through the rest of my wine (the quantity of this was decent too, and got me fairly tipsy), and sitting back in our chairs observing the views outside, it soon grew too dark to see the water, and then it was time to go.
Food: 9/10. They are the classic pub-style generous sizes, jazzed up too because of the location and views. I give them a higher score, because of how well they received us on another visit… read on below…
Coffee: N/A, but mark my word I will try it one day soon!
Ambience: Casual and cosy. Intermittent laughter and louder than normal groups were heavily punctuated by longer silences and still moments when people were just chilling. I think being by the bay makes everyone feel that much calmer. You just stop, and stare.
People: Locals. Locals. Locals. Cold Tuesday night in October, who else but locals? There were a group of 3 guys near us, but predominantly there were older couples, and older groups… um, Mornington is a bit of a Pensioner’s Paradise. Is everyone aware of that? I mean, they even have a pensioner special! That’s telling you something.
There was also a Mum and son pairing, and then later, a family of 5 (applause to the parents) came to sit nearby as we were finishing up, but it was generally an older crowd about, and from repeated visits, we’ve noticed a $$$ one.
Staff: The staff provided friendly service, both in explaining to us straight-up after ascertaining we were new, how we had to order, and also by kindly giving the kids set to baby girl, without us even asking. God Bless. More on the exceptional staff below.
Price: The total price was approximately $120-130, being vague because there were two receipts when Hubbie put the orders through at the counter and bar respectively, and we didn’t keep both. Though Hubbie thought the price too much for pub-style surroundings, I reminded him we weren’t only paying for the food, but for the magnificent view. Something to keep in mind. I for one think it is worth it.
The only downside is the ordering up at the counter part for both drinks and food… it’s places like these you expect to pay a little less, rather than the amount we paid at Kirks.
Advice: Book ahead only so you can be assured a spot in the first sun-room section.
In a nutshell: We have been to this venue a few more times since our initial visit, which shows you without me saying, that we were more than happy to go back!
On one visit we received the most kindest and understanding staff, that I absolutely have to mention it here, and praise praise praise. Baby girl was having an exceptional moment one night, heavily over-tired, and pretty much had a breakdown as I tried to take her to the toilets, which resulted in me almost having a breakdown. One lovely waitress tried to help me settle her, and calm my nerves amidst other diners eye-ing us off suspiciously, and then when we were in the bathroom, that same waitress went to Hubbie and told him to let me know “not to worry. We are a family restaurant, we have kids, we understand.”
When he told me that, I honestly started to cry.
Because so often wait staff, store people, and just generally a lot of the population that have no kids, or have long passed that stage and forgotten how difficult it is, will turn up their nose at you for even taking your child out, let alone when they’ve had enough and scream blue murder at the top of their lungs. So for this waitress to go up to Hubbie and say what she did, was like an Angel singing the most beautiful hymn.
She then continued to be accommodating that night, by giving baby girl one of her own child’s toys to play with, and even another waitress was especially kind to us. It was like, they knew…
…that kids WILL act like kids. Funny huh? This place jumped up high in my books after that night, and eternally it will now be a regular fave. Well done guys.
So with all that said, I will definitely go back again, not only because they were so especially kind and understanding to us and baby girl, but also to finish off my ‘to-do at Kirks’ checklist:
Drink wine in their outdoor section taking in the view
Have brekkie in their outdoor section taking in the view
Have coffee in their outdoor section taking in the view
Did I mention taking in the view?
Basically… do not shirk a visit, to Kirks.