UPDATE: Cafe Modi, Gem Cottage, La Monicas, Paleo Cafe, Merc's Bier Cafe and All Things English have since closed.
Mornington is the gateway to the gourmet wonderland of the Mornington Peninsula and Main Street – Mornington's main thoroughfare – is a long and lovely stretch of boutiques and eateries, at once a seaside holiday destination and a laidback town going about its business.
Main Street kicks off at the Nepean Highway and meanders all the way to a glistening sea. Whether you're looking for good coffee, deli goods, a sassy cocktail or a kick-arse pizza, Main Street (and its side streets) can serve it up – and how. Here's just a small sample of what's on offer.
First things first – the all-important coffee. Fortunately there is a hearty number of places to either drink it or buy it. The foliage-clad Coffee Traders brews up 5 Senses coffee and features a rotating single origin from guest roasters such as Gardenvale's exulted Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird. Via Boffe get its house blend roasted by Zest, while you can sip Toby's Estate on Cafe Modi's Astroturf-clad deck. If you want to stock up, head to Unearthed Tea and Coffee for a good range of take-home leaves and beans, and keep an eye out for freshly opened Store Fifteen, which dispenses coffee from Dukes Coffee Roasters.
Coffee Traders, 3 Blake Street 5977 1177
Via Boffe, 74 Main Street 5975 7499
Cafe Modi, Shop 1, 45-47 Main Street 0419 137 777
Unearthed Tea and Coffee, 55 Main Street 5976 2299
Store Fifteen, 15 Main Street 5975 5015
There is a mind-boggling number of cafes, from pizza to paleo, to pick from. About Thyme is a relatively new little charmer with a cosy couch in the window, Allpress coffee on the grinders and breakfasts such aspotato and poppyseed pikelets with smoked salmon and sour cream. Onde Fine Foods is quirky and convivial, serving lovely, light Italian fare in a marquee setting, with a good range of Onde-branded provisions such as olive oil and panforte to go.
The white picketed Gem Cottage serves vibrant contemporary cafe fare like seasonal Bircher for breakfast and a nutty maple chicken salad for lunch, while nearby La Monicas trades in northern Italian dishes with a good nod to gluten-free (and a wicked toasted cheese sandwich – perfect with a cheeky white in the afternoon).
If paleo's your thing, duck into bright white and zesty orange environs of the Paleo Cafe for a fresh juice and a signature mango, avocado and macadamia salad, or a chunk of zucchini and kale frittata. You can also browse the shelves of paleo cookbooks and paleo-friendly groceries, from vegan chocolate to ghee from grass-fed cows.
About Thyme, 10 Blake Street, 5973 6362
Onde, 1 Barrett Lane,5976 1224
Gem Cottage, 37 Main Street, 5973 4074
La Monicas, 67 Main Street, 5976 3198
Paleo Cafe, 89 Main Street, 5976 8371
With the Mornington Peninsula being home to so many wonderful wineries and breweries, it'd be just plain rude not to have a wee tipple on Main Street. Lovers of fine craft beer should make a beeline for Mr Paul's Beer and Wine, a cracking little joint hiding down a tiny arcade and slinging rotating local brews and sophisticated bar snacks of the cured meat and cheese variety.
The Winey Cow is an airy, sleek room with walls of wine bottles and a relaxing deck to enjoy a sunny drink from the local-leaning wine list over brunch (or perhaps over an evening fondue), while the Brass Razu has more of a cheeky bordello feel and minxy cocktails to match. Paul Mercurio's new Merc's Bier Cafe has an excellent range of craft beers (natch) and sensational US-influenced snacks – think empanadas, frickles (fried and battered pickle slices) and smoky meats, and Fika Weinstuble (weinstuble is German for wine bar), another newcomer from a trio of European ladies, pairs its schnapps and beer with German and Swedish dishes such as knackwurst and potato salad.
Mr Paul's Beer and Wine, 11/234 Main Street, 5975 2258
The Winey Cow, 39 Main Street, 5976 4018
Brass Razu, 13 Main Street, 5975 0108
Merc's Bier Cafe, 25 Main Street, 5973 6372
Fika Weinstuble, 174 Main Street, 0439 741 897
If you're looking for somewhere lovely for dinner, Main Street is home to the Mornington branch of the popular DOC, a perpetual favourite for its feather-light and stylish pizzas and seasonal specials, set in a large and lively dining hall with al fresco tables arcing around. The snug Afghan Marco Polo, warmly decorated in wall-hung rugs and Afghan photographic portraits, serves fragrant kormas and rice spiked with caramelised carrot, sultanas and almonds. At Assaggini, you can wind down with wine and tapas and occasional live jazz.
DOC, 22 Main Street, 5977 0988
Afghan Marco Polo, 9-11 Main Street,5975 5154
Assaggini, 1C Albert Street, 5973 5791
Shopping for gourmet or specialist supplies? Try Mornington Prime Cuts – an immaculate butcher stocking high-quality free-range meats as well as their house-made, preservative-free sausages. This one's a real cut above. Gluten Free Foods sells a huge range of just that, while Houghtons Fine Foods is a lovely continental deli selling prime meats, jams, chutneys and excellent take-home meals. DOC also has a sensational deli and produce store attached.
Mornington Prime Cuts, Shop 1, 26 McLaren Place, 5977 0055
Gluten Free Foods, Shop 5, 55 Barkly Street, 5973 6466
Houghtons Fine Foods, Shop 7, 59 Barkly Street 5975 2144
Looking for a sugar fix? Hit up Tuttifrutti Artisan Gelato for a scoop of zingy blood orange gelato, or duck into The Chocolate Kettle for a haul of local and imported chocolates and lollies, including decorative tins of European confectionary. The Little Chocolate Shop has an alluring range of handmade chocolates – a dash of luxury to accompany your coffee there – while All Things English serves classic British cakes and scones with tea amid shelves of English groceries. Chocolat of Mornington does an excellent line in artisan French pastries and Franks Classique Bakery makes homely German cakes (excellent bread too).
Tuttifrutti Artisan Gelato, 5 Blake Street, 5975 9597
The Chocolate Kettle, Shop 10, 78 Main Street, 5975 6819
The Little Chocolate Shop , 63D Barkly Street, 5975 3337
All Things English, 2C Empire Street, 5973 6347
Chocolat of Mornington, Shop 6, 59 Barkly Street, 5976 4902
Franks Classique Bakery, 29A Main Street, 5975 0205