Opening an upmarket restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula with the moniker Doot Doot Doot is a bold statement of intent.
But nothing about the Willow Creek Vineyard development, which includes 46-room luxury hotel Jackalope, cellar door eatery Rare Hare and cocktail bar Flaggerdoot, has been short on ambition.
Owner Louis Li, a Melbourne-based entrepreneur, enlisted Carr Design Group, Pascale Gomes-McNabb, Fabio Ongarato Design and various artists and designers for the project, briefing them to bring "a conceptual approach to art, design, dining, and storytelling".
The 80-seat restaurant, which opened on April 1, features dark timber herringbone floors, black leather banquettes and a 1200-bottle glass cellar.
But the centrepiece is a custom-made ceiling installation by Melbourne-based artist Jan Flook with 10,000 lights that twinkle on and off in patterns that evoke bubbling and fermentation.
New Zealand-born chef Guy Stanaway, recently of Aman Resorts, is in charge of the kitchen, serving a four- or eight-course degustation showcasing local produce.
Seasonal dishes might include young vegetables, served with goat's curd and orange blossom, and apples in brown butter with parsnip, walnut and miso sherbet.
And in case you were wondering about the names Jackalope, Doot Doot Doot and Flaggerdoot, they all relate to the mythical North American jackalope, a fearsome rare hare with the horns of an antelope. Apparently flaggerdoot is the collective noun for a group of jackalopes, while the leader of the flaggerdoot is known as the doot doot doot. Make of that what you will.
Open for lunch Monday to Friday and for dinner daily.
166 Balnarring Road, Merricks North, 03 5931 2500, jackalopehotels.com