“God’s Kitchen’s relaxed, casual atmosphere fits comfortably with locals in Mornington. Food + Music bring people together.”
God’s Kitchen in Mornington is an eye opening venue in more ways than one. Located in a heritage listed church, if offers far more than bread and wine on the menu, and don’t expect too many choir boys amongst the music selection.
Paul White and Vanessa Dixon share a passion for bringing people together to share good times with great food and original music. Paul hails from Beechworth in North-East Victoria, and thirteen years ago he started the iconic General Store venue in the ski resort of Mount Hotham. The idea was to bring the same casual, friendly and affordable country hospitality to God’s Kitchen in late 2008. Paul and Vanessa co-run the business with Lucy Peckett and Nick O’Brien, and the venue has captured the hearts of the local Mornington population, just as envisioned.
A restaurant, bistro, cafe, bar and concert venue all rolled into one, this diversity has helped to make it the busy local, where everyone knows your name. There are four distinct areas to God’s Kitchen, creating a range of ambiences with spaces for large groups or more intimate seating; but everywhere is relaxed and comfortable.
The entrance opens into a courtyard surrounded by gardens, providing a relaxed, alfresco dining experience. Inside the church building, which is one of Mornington’s most historical buildings (built in 1867), the original windows and pitched timber ceiling are the centerpieces of a casual bistro with exceptional acoustics for live music and superb natural light.
There is a glassed atrium providing a la carte service for a more formal and intimate dining experience looking out to the beautiful gardens. Finally the Garden Bar is hidden from the rest of the venue and caters for larger groups, private functions or those who just want to watch the cricket with a cold beer and a pizza.
Food is served all day and night over the weekends; late lunches, early dinners and families with children are catered for too. It’s nearly always busy with some special event or another. Every Wednesday night there is a popular trivia night; steak night is on Thursday, and the God’s Kitchen Birthday Club is understandably popular, as members receive free meals each year when their birthday rolls around.
By supporting independent touring artists, who love to take advantage of the amazing church acoustics, God’s Kitchen is also doing its bit for the up and coming talent on the Australian music scene. The restaurant is also a loyal supporter of the Mornington Yacht club twilight racing season, the Mornington Football club, and it promotes local fundraising for schools and non-profit organisations.
Head chef, Gary Jones, from the UK, is very well travelled and has worked extensively around the world, with many years experience working in the French Alps. Wherever possible he uses locally sourced produce from the Peninsula for the extensive menu at God’s Kitchen, including fruits, cheeses and meats.
As well as pizzas, the tapas and a la carte menus change seasonally with a couple of staple dishes standing the test of time. The Kefalogravielo Saganaki, and the Japanese Eye Fillet Tataki with wilted sesame spinach, are good examples of popular dishes oozing with local tastes and goodness. The wine list is also focuses on local Peninsula and other Australian wines – in particular, the pinot noir from Crittenden Estate.
God’s Kitchen pizzas are the signature dish, with each named after places and people around the Peninsula. “Ace-Hi” has free-range chicken, bacon, sweet corn, roasted red capsicum and ranch sauce; “Foxey’s Hangout” offers duck confit, spinach, wild mushroom and cashew nuts; and the “Bulldog on Barkly” is a meat feast with chicken, salami, beef, bacon, caramelized onion, and BBQ sauce.