124 Mountjoy Pde, Lorne
Ph: 5829 2787
WHEN I’m choosing a restaurant I can be tempted by a number of things: its reputation, its location; its chef or even its background music selection.
I choose to dine at Lorne’s Marks Restaurant for none of the above. The thing that got me over the line during a recent weekend away was a single option on the entrée menu.
Seriously, who could resist “Meredith goats cheese, ovenbaked in filo on roasted beetroot with figs, walnuts, rocket and balsalmic dressing ($15)? Not me.
So I made a booking for that particular Sunday evening and I was surprised to find the restaurant almost full even though Lorne in the middle of winter can be more dreary than desirable. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one sucked in by the prospect of ovenbaked goats cheese…
Anyway, a brief tête-à-tête with our friendly waitress backed up my hunch this entrée was worth the anticipation and my first mouthful confirmed it. The silky smooth cheese matched brilliantly with the roasted beetroot and the walnuts gave it the perfect amount of crunch.
I lingered over the dish for as long as possible but since my dining buddy decided to give an entrée a miss, I eventually cleared the plate and made way at the table for our mains.
Marks has enough options to suit all tastes with the menu changing daily and posted on the front window at 3pm sharp. The kangaroo sirloin looked good at $27, as did the local skate fillet at $28. But I opted for the crispy skin roast duck on potato mash with balsamic jus ($30) and he the battered local flathead fillets with roasted kipfler potatoes, rosemary and garlic ($28). We teamed both with a bottle of 2006 Momo sav blanc from Marlbrough in NZ.
Now, I’m not normally an entrée person so when my duck arrived I was already a little full. To be honest, I found it a little dry and lacking some flavour but he said the fish was fresh and done in a non-greasy batter.
Not much else worth noting on the mains so I’ll cut to what nearly upstaged my entrée: the dessert.
We decided to share what we had seen the couple at the table next to us had ordered. The Bosc pear pastry with vanilla ice cream and apricot syrup ($12) was baked to order and was, quite simply sublime and up there with the best desserts I’ve eaten.
The combo of the crisp pastry, perfectly cooked pear, homemade ice cream and apricot sauce had us wishing we’d ordered one each and, as I said, nearly upstaged my entree.
While the duck didn’t rock my world, the entrée and the dessert certainly did. Throw in some pretty nifty service from our waitress and our window table overlooking the water and I’d say Marks was definitely worth a return visit, even though the bill for two ($114) and the distance from home (two hours) means it’s a special occasion rather than a weekly regular.