Friday, July 06, 2012

Mornington Peninsula: Flinders Hotel


Flinders Hotel
Cnr Cook & Wood Streets
Flinders VIC 3929
Ph: (03) 5989-0201
Website

Seeing the name "Flinders Hotel" on the itinerary of our trip to the Mornington Peninsula, I had been expecting and looking forward to a casual pub lunch. However, when we arrived, we were whisked into Terminus, the more formal dining area for a four course lunch. What a lovely surprise!  (And at this point, I was thankful I'd only had a tiny breakfast!)

The Flinders Hotel has a bit of history, dating back to 1889.  However, it has recently been revamped, and now includes the more formal Terminus restaurant, The Deck (a casual pub), and a function area, as well as a 40-room boutique hotel (scheduled to open in September).  I'm also told that there are plans in the works to turn the site across the street into a cooking school - all of which I'm sure will make Flinders quite the destination!


Lunch started with some warm and fluffy bread rolls, studded with nigella seeds.  I particularly liked the olive tapenade butter that came as an accompaniment.
Clockwise from left: Butter, Olive Tapenade Butter; Olive Oil; Warm bread roll with nigella seeds
We were also given an amuse bouche of butternut soup with aniseed foam, and a crisp mushroom borek.  I don't always like aniseed flavours, but it complemented the sweetness of the soup well.  And who doesn't love deep fried pastry?
Amuse bouche: butternut soup with aniseed foam and a mushroom borek

The menu has a distinct north-African vibe, influenced by the Algerian heritage of Chef Pierre, who kindly arranged to have a series of dishes brought out so that we could try a good selection of the menu.  I haven't listed prices in the captions below, as I wasn't sure if some of the portions were downsized for tasting purposes.  However, to give an indication of price, entrées range from $24 - $27; mains are $34 - $39; sides are $9.50 and desserts are $14 - $17 ($26 for cheese).

For our first course, we were each given the stuffed quail leg.
stuffed quail, cinnamon gnocchi, dried grape juice
It was my favourite dish of the day - and it certainly induced a lot of envy when I tweeted it!  The boned quail was tender and juicy, and I loved the combination of sticky, savoury sauce, sweet raisins, and the hint of cinnamon in the gnocchi.  And how cute is the quail egg on the quail leg? (It also sounds funny when you say that out loud, hehe).

For the next two courses, we were each given a different dish.
roasted rabbit, foie gras, raisin jus
It's quite decadent to have foie gras at lunch, but I'm sure it would have been rude to say no!

seared scallops, black pudding, pork belly
I really enjoy the combination of black pudding and fresh scallops, and the cube of crackly pork belly took this dish to another level.

lamb rack, braised shoulder, merguez sausage, raisin and capsicum
I think of this dish as "a study in lamb", with lamb rack, shoulder, and Merguez sausage.  This was yet another dish featuring meat and the sweetness of raisins, which is a totally winning combination in my book. Love!

local snapper, shrimp borek and chermoula
The snapper was incredibly fresh and perfectly cooked, and I enjoyed the crunchy shrimp borek (more deep-fried pastry - win!).  The chermoula-based sauce was very strongly flavoured - both salty and sour - and if this hadn't been such a filling meal, I'd have loved some plain couscous to soak up the sauce and temper the sauce's intensity.

roast kipfler potatoes; roasted carrots with cumin and honey

Looking back over this meal, I see it was quite meat-heavy.  Based on the quality of the food we ate, cooking with meat is obviously one of Pierre's strengths, and in fact, the current menu online only lists two vegetarian entrées and one vegetarian main.  Not that this bothers me at all (of course not!), but I just mention it as it's something you might want to keep in mind if you're visiting with a vegetarian or someone who doesn't eat a lot of meat.

Needless to say, we were very full after that generous meal, but just had to order a dessert to share - for research purposes, you understand.

dark chocolate fondant, white chocolate mousse, butternut sorbet
Of course I loved the warm, molten chocolate fondant, and the sweet lightness of the white chocolate mousse, but what really stood out for me was the butternut sorbet.  Such an unusual flavour, and so delicious!  I wouldn't have thought to pair dark chocolate and butternut pumpkin, but it worked so well together!

Chef Pierre Khodja, tagines, spices
A big thanks to Chef Pierre Khodja for a lovely meal!

Sarah and Sandra ate lunch as guests of the Flinders Hotel and Mornington Peninsula Tourism.

This is the fifth and final post from my 2012 Mornington Peninsula Trip series.  Other posts include: Mornington Peninsula; Montalto; Tussie Mussie Vineyard Retreat; and Stillwater at Crittenden.

Flinders Hotel on Urbanspoon

7 comments:

Michelle Chin said...

Meat + Chocolate = Decadence overload. Hehe.

I never had nigella seeds before. I wonder how it will taste like.

Iron Chef Shellie said...

ahhh yes... I often have dessert for research purposes ;)

Hannah said...

I'm kinda imagining the olive tapenade butter melting over the roasted kipfler potatoes and it's kinda making my imaginary world happy.

myfoodtrail said...

What a nice menu cover. When I hear "Flinders Hotel" I think pub food too so it must have been a nice surprise to see all the lovely food and presentation!

Sarah said...

Michelle - Yup, we were SO full after that meal! Nigella seeds are also called kalonji or Indian cumin... and they kinda taste like cumin, an earthy spice. :)

Michele - Food blogging is a tough life, isn't it! ;)

Hannah - Ooh... that sounds like a fab idea!

April - It's pretty, isn't it? They had it specially designed for the revamp of the hotel. The restaurant was quite a bit more upmarket than I expected! I'll have to try the pub side next time, I'm sure it would be nice too. :)

xox Sarah

Winston said...

AMAZING! I have a soft spot for restaurants with a history... I REALLY want that quail dish now. Absolutely perfect in every way!

Mornington Peninsula said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful post! The wines and cuisines which you have talked about are really wonderful and people who will visit Mornington Peninsula will enjoy these dishes.