We’re going further afield with this one, folks, heading all the way to beachside Mornington. My dear old friend Sarah invited me out for a nice calm hens night evening of food, cocktails and chats, which is just the kind of hens night I enjoy (keep your penis straws off of my silky drawers!).
Garlic Kiss is situated just off Mornington’s main street, and it’s rather unfortunate name makes more sense once you realise that it’s a pan-European restaurant. It’s outfitted in a way that suggests comfort rather than style, with nice solid padded chairs and one of those hammy fake fireplaces where it mimics an open wood fire but it’s actually gas powered (those things make me DIE).
We started with a couple of rounds of the dips for the table to share. There were three varieties of dip included: beetroot, sweet potato and one that I could never quite identify – it didn’t really matter in the end as that one in particular was quite tasteless. The sweet potato one was mild and inoffensive, leaving the beetroot as the only one with any flavour kick to it, it was strongly earthy and quite good. The pita bread served with the dips had been sprinkled with paprika, which added a nice smoky overlay to everything.
For my main I had the zucchini and corn fritters, served with a little dressed leaf salad and crusty bread with a little ramekin of diced tomato and salad onion (bonus bruschetta!). The three fritters were big round puffy things, liberally threaded through with cubes of vegetables and corn kernels, but were still doughy enough that they actually got a bit heavy quite quickly, I ended up leaving half of one behind. Therefore it was quite a relief to munch on the side salad and bonus bruschetta (the crusty bread was particularly good, with a touch of sourdough tang to it).
I decided to waive any side dishes. LOLS THAT’S A TOTAL LIE I TOTALLY HAD CHIPS. And glad of it I am too. The ‘Dutch chips’ were big fat crispy chips that were fluffy within, liberally sprinkled with sea salt and rosemary. Served with sour cream, some kind of thick chilli paste and a garlic aioli, the chilli and sour cream was completely ignored in favour of the aioli which was stupidly good.
Sarah also gave me a taste of her vegetable paella, which had been well cooked with a firm bite to the rice, but was it was predominately flavoured with paprika, which I imagine probably would have become a bit overwhelming if you were trying to eat the whole thing.
For dessert there was chocolate fondue with strawberries, marshmallows and orange slices to share between the five of us. The fruit was fresh, the sauce was milk chocolate but tasted smooth with a medium level of richness, with none of the brittle, plastic-y overtones of cheap chocolate. Really though, the appeal of fondue is less how everything tastes and more to do with the shared ritual of eating it.
The real king of the meal, however, was our second dessert choice: the banana and hazelnut pudding with caramel sauce. Served with a ball of quality vanilla ice cream that was ever so creamy, this is the sort of pudding that pays proper respect to bananas. It was chock full of banana chunks with seams of hazelnut pieces yet wasn’t heavy at all – handy because the caramel sauce was intensely rich and sweet, just the way caramel sauce should be! It was very hard not to whip this plate out of everyone’s grasp and just keep it all to myself.
I finished it all off with an earl grey tea that was served with sugar cubes and a slice of lemon. When was the last time you saw lemon slices and sugar cubes in a city-side caf’? Come on, Brunswick, us tea fans love our granny afternoon tea affectations, get on this.
Garlic Kiss was basically the definition of ‘nice’. The more lackluster dishes still had elements that were enjoyable, and the good dishes have stayed large in my memory. The food overall was a lot better than I was expecting from a seaside suburbs restaurant, and my dining companions also assured me that the cocktails on offer were quite delicious. It might not impress the most hard-nosed of city slicker foodies, but for what we required from it Garlic Kiss was perfectly fine.
1C Albert Street, Mornington
Ph: (03) 5976 1444