Go through to the food

Via Boffe
74 Main Street Mornington

Once again, Mornington. Our love affair with the Peninsula just keeps on going on. We had driven over for the day on Australia Day, and through the crazily-busy cafes and eateries swimming with tourists and dogs and practically anything else you can imagine, we found this quaint little café nestled amongst it all on the Main street.

I had one requirement – we needed at least a change table area for baby girl, and also hopefully a high chair. We had already rejected Biscottini because they had no change areas, and I needed one because, you know, possible call of nature. Baby girl is a person too. We were staring through the window into this Boffe of a café when the boss lady stuck her head out and told us there were plenty more options inside to choose from, and that it wasn’t just limited to the menu we were looking at on the door.

Smart move. She really, invited us in, and getting an invitation when you’re undecided, and confused about where to go? She won us over.

I did have my before-mentioned requirements. I asked about the high chair – they didn’t have any apologetically, but she was getting some in. Ok next question – change area? She led me to an outside toilet winding around the back behind the outdoor courtyard where we ended up sitting at, and with a key opened the door to a public bathroom with several toilets. There was a kind of bench area underneath the hand dryer… perhaps this could work? I could deal with the no high chair, all I needed was space to change her. This was adequate. This would do.

With the formalities over, it was now time to order.

I went in with baby girl and ordered at the front counter as is the norm there. I also received a jug of ice, which I could then fill up with water from a tap up at the counter. It was self-serve, but a classy kind of one, what with the silver saucer and all. Soon after we received

Drinks of Peroni and Moscato

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Followed by our meals: Hot Salami Roll for Hubbie

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Eggplant Parmigiana for myself

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And a Margherita Pizza for baby girl

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The presentation of the food on the boards was lovely. It matched the rest of the atmosphere there, the iron chairs complementing the mosaic tables in a Tuscan/provincial theme. Outside it was very courtyard classy, amplified more so by our neighbours, who were super-poshy. It actually made me slightly stressed and on edge, knowing there were no other kids around, with baby girl sitting on a slightly wonky chair, and the small table too close for her curious and prying hands. It’s the reason why I love high chairs – she can be controlled so much easier. But I had to deal with what I had.

Hubbie didn’t think his salami roll was that hot. Otherwise it was ok. I loved the sauciness of my eggplant parmigiana. The bread on the side was slightly tough, but softened easily under all of that sauce. Baby girl enjoyed her meal too, and I particularly liked pecking at her bocconcini and cherry tomato stray pieces.

After we ate, I realised baby girl needed a change. I was so grateful that I had chosen the change area requirement over the high chair one. I went into the café as I was told to do, got the key for the bathroom, and then headed down the winding path with baby girl in tow.

Following this, was the toilet debacle. Firstly, the bathroom wasn’t even locked. I opened it easily. As I started to set up baby girl for her change, a girl opened the door, and then called out over her shoulder “there are toilets!” before coming in with two other women. They had come from another street entrance and obviously believed these toilets were available to all public people. I was under the impression they were only available to customers and staff of the café – hence the key. Anyway, I minded my business, but because of the up and down of these people walking in, and then more people coming in, and subsequently these women using the hand dryer – baby girl didn’t want to lie down. I had to convince her repeatedly to lie down so I could change her, I had to in fact BEG her, while stupid women walked by and took their time drying their hands while baby girl CLEARLY got frightened by the loud drying noise.

I withheld slapping. The stupid women, obviously.

Once they were all almost out of there, I quickly changed baby girl, not even bothering to care when another lady needed the dryer. I was allowed there – she wasn’t! Yet none of those women coming in knew that. By the time I finished up with her, then went to the loo myself, Hubbie was waiting at the mosaic table for us about to send out a search party.

Note to management: get a solid key that actually locks/unlocks, as I sure as hell couldn’t work it out, and every Sue, Sally and Sharon was coming in off the street using the loo.

After that drawn-out ordeal, it was time for caffeine.

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We ordered a cap for me, flat white for Hubbie, and babycino for baby girl, in amongst some sweets of caramel macadamia slice, chocolate tart, and lemon tart. I loved the caramel and lemon slices the most, the lemon was definitely tarty and had a lovely zing! Stay away if you’re not into lemons. My coffee was smooth which I was happy with, whereas Hubbie wanted his stronger.

By this stage the atmosphere in the courtyard had changed dramatically. Our poshy neighbours had been replaced by a table of tweens, while their parents talked loudly at the next table. My how I would have loved to have them there the whole time. I just love noisy places now. Yes, the courtyard probably suited a quieter audience, but the louder it is for us, the more relaxed we are in case baby girl goes on a vocal rampage. We were more at peace by coffee time, but by that time it was also time to go.

Food: 7.5/10. Everything looked and tasted great, however Hubbie’s meal felt slightly short of the ‘hot’ tag.

Coffee: 7.5/10.

Ambience: Although it had a relaxed tone being out in the courtyard, it really was dependent on the clientele at the time. Inside there was some seating, and out the front too, where it was bustling on the main strip.

Staff: They were friendly, but busy being a public holiday… smiles were lacking in some, made up for by others. Boss lady was friendliest, but that makes sense doesn’t it?

People: A real mix. Super posh Portsea-types bragging about interstate trips while the thirty-something daughter asks “Dad, do we need to pay?” in a privileged fashion on one side of the ring; families with kids of all ages talking out loud in another fashion on the other side of the ring; and then throw in the odd couple and super-tanned 60+ woman eating alone sporting the latest high-end fashion in the 3rd corner. All sorts.

Price: $60-ish – that included our two alcoholic drinks, 3 meals, 2 and a half coffees, and 3 mini desserts. Not bad. Servings were modest. I think the price was spot on for that type of café in that location.

Advice: One. Maybe make sure your kid is toilet-trained. Step two, if you have littlies, go when they have high chairs or sit inside away from the iron chairs (they should have high chairs by the time I publish this post). Third, if you’re anyone other than those first two categories, just go and check it out. I’m sure you’ll like it. (Oh and D, try the eggplant parmigiana. Yummo).

In a nutshell: Seeing as we are frequenting the Peninsula more and more nowadays, (just check out my Sea change tag over on my other blog to see what I mean!) we can definitely see ourselves coming back here. It was a cute café, with lovely atmosphere, delish food offerings, and the courtyard is bliss in the warm sun. The boss lady really made an impression on us too, she was very clever to reel us in like that… we will be back.

Touche Boffe 🙂

Via Boffe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bacon, Brioche & Co.

Milkbar & Co.
1/42 Lochiel Avenue Mount Martha

It was the morning after deciding to randomly stay over in the Peninsula. Our accommodation in Martha was great, however, when you come unprepared, it means you might suddenly get freezing cold at 5am because you’re up in the hills, and you sleep half-naked because you didn’t bring anything other than your swimwear underneath your dress.

So needless to say, we were a tad tired that Monday morning. We ventured down to the little strip of shops we had run off to the previous night to buy much-needed supplies, to a quaint and funky place called Milkbar & co.

I had been drawn to the place ever since I’d seen the handwritten poster up against their outside wall.

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For those of you who can’t read sun-glare writing (who can?) it says “I hate when people say you don’t need alcohol to have fun. Well you don’t need running shoes to run but it helps.”

This made me LOL inside. It made perfect sense that we should eat there.

However we immediately encountered massive pole-bum attitude from the young waitress who tended to us. She was too cool for school. Literally. Like she had just finished holidays and was jealous she wasn’t out there beach-bumming it like all her friends. She was very sour, we had to call her over several times, and she made it out like we were doing her an injustice by calling her over. She was only moderately-tempered later when I paid at the end of our meal inside the café, and maybe that was because her boss was nearby. I don’t know. I usually save my report on staff ‘til the end of my review, but her disdain for everything was so apparent that mention must be made first.

We sat outside, and placed our orders. A very kind local was sitting alone near us, and heard us telling baby girl to behave. Baby girl, was not. This lady mentioned that we could get colouring pencils from the staff, seeing as she usually does that with her own cheeky brood when they are there with her. That day, she was enjoying some temporary peace. (How I was jelly). Upon her kind suggestion we got some from another passing waiter (not Grinch-girl).

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They kept her kind of busy.

Hubbie’s cappuccino came first. It looked awesome after 5 interrupted hours of sleep.

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And I ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice, which was uplifting and refreshing. Hubbie loved it as much as I did, as he kept stealing sips.

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Then our meals:

My Brioche French Toast, with organic maple syrup and streaky bacon

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And Hubbie and Baby girl got the same meals – Fruit toast with butter and jam2016-01-11 09.49.38

My meal was really nice, however I seriously wasn’t expecting that much bacon. I need to say that I am not necessarily a bacon girl, but I will eat the ‘clean’ pieces if it comes in a meal of mine. If you’re a bacon lover, you would LOVE this meal. Even though the pieces were ‘clean,’ and I was impressed by that, still consuming the lot (I hate wastage) it made me slightly ill later, only because I’m not used to so much of it.

The fruit toast was thick and soft, with very chunky fruit pieces inside. Again, if you are a fruit toast lover, this is fab. The chunky fruit pieces were a bit too chunky for baby girl, however it’s something I know I would have enjoyed. It was a generous fruit toast in my book, and very sweet.

Later I had my cappuccino and enjoyed it for a few lovely and lonesome minutes while Hubbie walked a squirmy baby girl up and down the footpath.

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Their coffee is Dukes, and at first the flavour was quite strong, but like Dukes usually is, it softened and gave way to a gentle smooth flavour by the time I was taking my last sip.

I paid Grinch-girl inside where she suddenly had found the mechanism to turn her face into a somewhat upward turn, and we left for Mornington Beach.

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Food: 7.5/10. It was generous, and done well.

Coffee: 8/10. Dukes: strong, then smooth.

Ambience: Chilled beach-vibe, what with the surf hidden behind the tall trees just across the road. It had a very local feel sitting in amongst all the other convenience stores and eateries there.

Staff: Hmmm. So should I reiterate? Our waitress was ill-mannered. Other wait staff there seemed ok. The management needs to either be careful of who it hires, or put their staff into an aggressive waiter boot camp, where snobbish, rude, arrogant and unhelpful traits are stamped out. You can’t serve people like that, you just can’t.

People: I could heard a lot of ‘local’ talk, and you would, as I said, being on a small strip within Mount Martha. Families, ladies catching up, and older people too. We also saw a well-known underground figure walking his dog… All sorts.

Price: In the $40s for our lot. Within reason.

Advice: Try not to get served by anyone that looks like they have just bitten into a lemon. There are colouring pencils there for the kids, so if you’re not given any and you just can’t handle the whining anymore, call over a ‘lovely’ waiter to pass some over thank you very much. Listen to the menu descriptions too. Bacon on brioche means “lots of!” bacon. Fruit toast means “lots of!” fruit chunks. Take note.

In a nutshell: Despite the fact that our waitress left little of her service to be desired, this would be a cafe we could happily go back to. The food was great, coffee too, the beachside proximity was desirable, and it was a nice lovely strip to stop for brekkie. Plus, we’re kind of in love with the Peninsula. So fortunately for this establishment, we’ll be back.

But Grinch… me (and co.) will be watching you…

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Milkbar & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Main Hotel

Bay Hotel
62 Main Street Mornington

Not even a week after returning from Port Douglas, we were down at Frankston beach, rapt with all the kid and family-friendly features and surroundings – grass, shady trees, big change rooms for children, accessible (but heavily fought for!) parking, nearby café and ice cream – that after we were done there for the day, we kind of drove further into the Mornington Peninsula just to get baby girl to fall asleep in the car… and we ended up staying in Mount Martha overnight. As you do.

It was spontaneous, exciting and so different. We hadn’t packed, we didn’t have nappies for baby girl, and all I had on me was my bikinis with my very tropical-fringed dress draped over me. We were definitely not prepared. After organising overnight accommodation, we bought a few key items, and headed on down to Main Street in Mornington, where we have been so many times before, to get some tucker into us.

We decided on The Bay Hotel after a bit of to-and-fro up the street, only because we were looking for something a bit kid-friendly, both space and food wise, because she had slept very little in the car and we didn’t want to piss her off even more.

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It’s a grand old building, visually striking, and used to be a bank back in the day before being transformed to the restaurant and bar that it is today. There was seating outside but much more within its doors, with some casual lounges on the right by the window to perhaps sip on a coffee and window-watch people stroll by, with the majority of the seating on the left of the venue, beside the long-stretching bar. High ceilings, echoey spaces, and dark wood gave this venue even more of an esteemed aura, making me a tad nervous with baby girl’s intermittent outcries. Add to that the few people actually sitting inside, none of them making noise, and it didn’t feel like the best place to bring along a toddler.

However the staff didn’t make us feel like that. The waiter who served us in between spending the majority of his time behind the bar, and our main waitress, both made us all feel welcome, getting us a high chair, giving baby girl pencils and paper to colour in with, and just being very kind and gracious about her ‘noise.’ They were awesome. And of course, there was a kids menu, so they expected kids to come in and yell, right?

We ordered as quick as we could.

We needed something to peck on first, so we got the

Duo of dips, cumin oil and flatbread

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The flatbread was warm and eagerly devoured by baby girl. In fact we could have just let her eat that, but we had gone and ordered a proper main for her as well which in hindsight we could have gone without going by the flatbread portion. The dips were both great, and though I completely forget which was which, I know I liked them both, whereas Hubbie only liked the green one.

We had ordered drinks too – I had a Pinocchio Pinot Grigio, and Hubbie ‘double parked’ as the waitress coined, with a Johnnie Red and also a Crown

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Baby girl was kept busy with this picture of a cat (colouring in by Mum and Dad)

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After, our meals came.

My Paella – prawns, chicken, chorizo, mussels, saffron, olives and smoked paprika

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Hubbie’s 400g T-bone with chips and salad

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And baby girl’s Kids parmigiana and chips

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While we also had a side of steamed vegetables, for anyone that cared for them

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(Note: the uglier my food photos, the harder the meal was with baby girl. Just a late disclaimer).

Baby girl’s meal was huge! She pecked at most of the chips and we found bits of tomato in her salad too which she loved, but she didn’t have a lot of the chicken, which we tried to finish ourselves despite our huge plates. Nothing against the chicken, but she isn’t a huge fan of meat. Too much chewing required. Sigh, children nowadays. It was a massive kids meal, well worth the $12, and probably better suited to older children than toddlers like herself.

Hubbie enjoyed his T-bone steak, saying it was cooked to his liking, had a great char-grilled favour, and in total was a generous, comforting meal. He was a happy chappy.

My Paella was nice, however there was no overriding smoky flavour, or other discernible flavours as suggested in the meal title. It was a nice dish, but there was nothing noteworthy about it. As a paella, it was fairly bland. However, being hungry, and the fact I had seafood and rice in front of me, I ate as much as my stomach allowed.

Baby girl had been going a bit crazy during our meal time, and we had had to take turns watching her (walking outside with her while she waved at all the passers-by) while the other party ate alone inside. Seriously, this is why parents do not eat out with toddlers. My food posts may cease altogether if we continue at this rate. For some unknown reason, we still thought it appropriate despite her unsettledness, to order short blacks for us, and a babycino for her.

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She was happy with the marshmallows that accompanied her babycino. We both skulled our coffees, however mine was very much on the strong side, a bit too much for my liking. Still, coffee: I drank.

I up and paid and we left. Sorry folks, hope we weren’t too much of a racket. Bloody Melbourne folk.

Food: 7/10.

Coffee: 6.5/10. Based on my short black, too strong for me.

Ambience: A bit too quiet and refined for my liking, with baby girl I mean. Chilled out Triple J-like tunes playing in the background made it out to be more of a place you catch up with friends, than one you take your toddler out to dinner with.

Staff: Really friendly, smiley and helpful, and I’m grateful for this because I’m sure they thought we were a bit annoying. (I say ‘we,’ but I mean ‘baby girl,’ because I’m trying to be overprotective and defensive of her you see 😉 )

People: Couples, an older mother and daughter duo, and another family, but this family had older kids with ipads, with the Mother looking over to me every now and then with the look ‘why have you taken her out with you?’ while I stared back with ‘Have you forgotten how it’s like to have toddlers you nasty piece of *^&%!’

Price: $122.10 all up. That was one starter, 3 mains, 1 side, 3 alcoholic drinks, and 2 and a half coffees (they charged for the babycino…. Grrr, Argh). The price was actually reasonable considering what we ordered. I just wished some of it had been to a higher standard.

Advice: Maybe eat outside if you’re coming with kids – the outdoors will cloud their cries of discontent/amusement/toddler talk.

In a nutshell: It was a lovely place, and though some things we felt needed improvement, the staff more than enough made up for it. The fact that it’s on the Main Street and within a place we love to frequent (watch this space…) we would probably come back in the near future.

Who doesn’t want to be by the Bay?

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😉

Bay Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato