A local on the Esplanade

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:

IMAG1524

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.

IMAG1527

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.

IMAG1530

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

IMAG1533

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

IMAG1534

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

IMAG1540

And my Chilli Tiger Prawns, tossed in a cream & white wine sauce, served with fragrant jasmine rice & a side salad

IMAG1539

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.

Kirks on the Esplanade Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

The stop-over Bay Hotel

Inverloch Esplanade Hotel
1 A’Beckett Street Inverloch

On our way home from our RACV Resort Inverloch stay, we headed on down to the town centre, a small selection of shops and strips, very reminiscent of an actual, old-school ‘town’… and decided to lunch it at the local Hotel before our long drive home.

It was quite idyllic, eating at the ‘main’ Hotel on the main strip. Old photos of the street and how it used to look decades and decades ago, adorned the walls inside, offering a fantastic view into how things used to be. A little trip through history that was fascinating. A lot had changed, but I was happy to see that the area definitely still retained its little town and out-of-the-way village feel.

The group of us sat down in a middle table, happily lapping up the conveniently-playing Collingwood game on the nearby screen. Many others, most likely locals, had the same idea, and were lunching it to the footy on screen on one wall. Unfortunately, it was not going the Pies’ way. But we could eat, and that would make it ALL better.

It’s a pay-up-at-the-counter place, so we perused the menus at our table before a couple of us went up to pay on behalf of the whole. The boys went to the bar area and bought drinks, bringing them back to the table, and I headed to the middle of the restaurant which had an area to pick up your cutlery and pour yourself some water, and could see that at the bar they had colouring pencils and folders of girls and boys colouring paper! So clever! I grabbed those too for baby girl and that kept her happy for a while… until that is of course, she saw the kids play room. It’s stationed in the corner and separated by glass windows all around, so the kids are kept totally separate from other diners. She kept pointing but we only let her go until after she ate, if we had let her in earlier she would have NEVER come out!

Our food was delivered to the table, and soon, we all had a plate in front of each of us. On the menu for Hubbie, baby girl and I, were these selections… for me:

Thai Green Prawn Curry – with steamed jasmine rice

2016-06-05 14.34.00

For Hubbie, the Beef & Bacon Burger – House-made beef pattie with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion and jalapenos on a toasted bun with bbq relish and steak-cut chips

2016-06-05 14.34.09

And for baby girl, Chicken Nuggets and Chips

2016-06-05 14.24.20

I enjoyed my prawn curry meal, however with the wine that was accompanying it, it had a real kick and was super-spicy! It was great, yet I feel that some prawns were slightly undercooked.

Baby girl’s meal of nuggets and chips was a decent one, especially for the price-tag. She enjoyed it and we helped her along where necessary. Hubbie did enjoy his burger, but it was simply standard pub fare for him, nothing amazing or mind-blowing. Our meals had come out super quick which was a bonus, meaning baby girl could head on over to the play area and knock herself out ‘til it was time we hit the road for home…

Food: 7/10. At a place like this, the local corner Hotel, you come to know what to expect. Still decent.

Coffee: N/A.

Ambience: Chilled considering the footy was on, and not noisy in the slightest. Maybe because it was a quiet Sunday afternoon, maybe because the day was grey, or maybe because, that’s just how it is in a quiet town by the water!

People: A mix of older people, and families. I’d say confidently, mostly locals.

Staff: They were friendly, however we didn’t have much interaction with them, only when we ordered, and then they brought us our meals.

Price: Although I don’t have a summary price of what our groups tally came to, I can give you some figures from what we ate. Baby girl’s meal was a very decent $9. Mine was a bit on the upside at $28, and I didn’t really think that was worth it. It was a lovely meal, but the price needed to be a bit less than that. Hubbie’s was on the mark more at $18, so there is a real mix there – of meals both appropriately priced, and then mine, which if executed better, and ‘plumped’ up, would be well-worth the pricier tag.

Advice: Having said all of the above, from their website at the time of writing, it looks as if they have improved many parts of the restaurant, including the menu. Check it out, you may be pleasantly surprised,… then let me know 😉

In a nutshell: With the fact that it looks new and improved going on almost a year after we last saw it, I would go back to revisit this venue. I love the old-Hotel vibe, the photos showing way-back-when on the walls, and the beachside location and local feels that really put you, in the midst of it all, part of the town of Inverloch and its long-standing history.

Do have a wander over, as there is something there for everyone. Sports TV for the guys, strip of shops nearby for the girls, and a playroom for the kids… did I mention the collapsible change table in the toilets? Mornington Main Street and Lygon Street could learn a thing or two from them!

A stay, and a bite to eat in Inverloch, is a lovely way to spend your day.

Inverloch Esplanade Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato