The village of Mt Eliza, just north of Mornington, is home to Spoon Restaurant which is rapidly building a reputation for fine European-style dining. In 2012 it won the ‘Best European Restaurant’ category in the ‘Awards for Excellence’ for regional Victoria.
Spoon was opened by Anna and Ashley Shergold in August 2010. The couple has a long history of working in food and hospitality in Australia and in Europe, and it is a big passion for them both. In fact, they met through the hospitality industry in London, back in the mid-nineties, whilst working as part of the opening team for Mezzo, which was one of Sir Terence Conran’s restaurants. By then Ashley had also worked at Quaglino’s which was Conran’s flagship restaurant, and Anna had attended catering college at RMIT before heading to Europe.
Having completed his training in the UK and Monte Carlo, Ashley went on to work as Head Chef at The Top Floor at Smiths of Smithfield’s in Farringdon: a firm London favourite for lunch and dinner in the City, started by John Torode, the UK’s Masterchef judge.
The Peninsula ties stem from Anna, whose family live in Mt Eliza. After meeting Ashley in London, the couple and their young children remained connected to the area through family visits. When they decided to move home to Australia, they headed for Anna’s home region, initially working in some of the Peninsula’s finest wineries.
On finding the perfect site to build their dream, Spoon Restaurant soon opened its doors, and the couple hasn’t looked back since. The restaurant has been included in The Age Good Food Guide every year since it started and it is always part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s Express lunch; word has spread quickly amongst the locals too.
Ashley is the head chef of the restaurant and Anna has a hand in everything else. The menu changes to incorporate the best seasonal and local produce, with a strong European flavour. Great taste and exquisite presentation are all helped by Ashley’s strong chef credentials and the dishes are lovingly prepared.
The restaurant has a casual ambience with indoor and outdoor areas. The interior features acoustic panels which makes it a peaceful place, even when busy, and the colours and finishes have been chosen to give a warm but spacious feel. The outdoor dining area is a space for up to 16 people, where you can have a meal or simply enjoy the fresh air over a coffee or glass of wine.
One of the points of difference about Spoon is the amount of locally-produced, fresh ingredients used in the kitchen. Many of the dishes are refreshingly simple and rely on the great natural flavours of the local food. For example, they use Mornington Grove Olive oil for pouring for bread, Port Phillip mussels , Main Ridge cheese, Mornington Peninsula wine, and local fruit and vegetables wherever possible, notably the figs, quinces, rhubarb, pine mushrooms and herbs. The wine list includes wines from the local area as well as from New Zealand and European producers.
Spoon is open Tuesday to Saturday evenings from 5.30 for dinner; Wednesday to Friday from midday for lunch. Ashley and Anna can cater for group bookings too.