Tasting Mornington – Kirk’s on the Esplanade

Howdy all. It’s Wednesday – which means it’s review day! And today I am reviewing a place I ate at in November on my way down the Mornington Peninsula, Kirk’s on the Esplanade. It’s a hotel which is quite expanded with several rooms for dining. I met some work colleagues there for lunch, so although I only had the one meal, I could get feedback on three others (my wife was already there). Mornington and the Peninsula are awesome places for vacations, and are frequented not just by Victorians, but also domestic travellers from other states and indeed international visitors. So if you are coming to Australia some day in the future when we’re open for business again (please let that be sooner rather than later) this might be the sort of place you visit.

Drinks in a row!

We visited just after the Covid restrictions were being wound back in Victoria. We had just been able to travel outside the city limits or more than 25 kilometres from our home. Also, there were limits to how many people could dine in one place, although it wasn’t clear how they were policing it at Kirk’s as it wasn’t busy enough – it was a late lunch.

So anyways, the space is really nice, and it’s in an old hotel but it’s fully refurbished inside. The floors are mostly shining floorboards in the restaurant areas, there’s a bar area as well, outside area and a semi outside area where we ate. It was open on one side so I imagine that means they can seat more people there (as there were indoor limits significantly less than outdoor areas) and this is where we were seated. We were seat right near where presumably they have glass doors, but asked to move as half the table was in direct sunlight. Our new table was completely in the shade, which was great because a couple took our original table and were soon trying to move.

View from just over the road

Young staff, seemed to be following Covid protocols which you would expect. They were friendly but there were a couple of issues with one of my colleague’s meal. Firstly she wanted the trout but the waiter returned about 10-15 minutes later to say they were out. Then she ordered the pasta marinara in an oil sauce, but it came in the tomato sauce and that had to be taken back.

The menu was what you would expect from an Australian restaurant/hotel type place in a beachside spot. The hotel is obviously on the Esplanade, just over the road is the ocean and cliffs, a rugged but impressive view and after our meals we went over there to take a few photos. And this may have been the highlight of the afternoon.

So the menu filled with fish, steak and parmigiana. It was a fairly large menu and there was a good range of things to choose from, but sometimes that can be a warning sign. So around the table we had an order of marinara, one of barramundi, my wife had lightly battered calamari and I ordered a 500 gram (I know, ridiculous!) wagyu steak with chips and salad, medium rare.

The general consensus was it was really disappointing. No-one was impressed with their meals sadly. The best was the calamari, which was okay, but there was massive disappointment all table round and I guess that in this case I can comment because it wasn’t just one poor meal, it was three and a half.

So here’s the issue. Firstly the salad was okay and the chips were fine, but it was the supposedly marbled wagyu steak which really disappointed. Firstly, I can’t stress this enough, some people don’t seem to have any idea what ‘medium rare’ is. Again, another over cooked steak! I wouldn’t care if it was cheap but it was a $42 steak, and I expect to see some pink in the middle it was at the very least straight medium, or perhaps medium-well done. It was tasteless. It was like eating cardboard. The disappointment showed on my face. My friend having the marinara said it was way too dry, we turned to the barramundi, another disappointment.

I feel like a snob here reviewing meals I wasn’t happy with. But hey – I paid for it right? Afterwards I checked them online – Google gives then 4.1 out of 5 stars, 3.5 on Trip Advisor, 2.9 on Zomato. Initially I only saw the good scores and frankly was shocked convinced they must have reviewed themselves. And these are not just reviews in the last few weeks. What’s strange is that the location and the venue are really good, but the quality of the food is the exact opposite. Which I think compounds the disappointment.

So anyways, that’s my experience and my thoughts. Mornington is full of dining options. I wouldn’t recommend Kirk’s, you won’t be missing anything, and you could always walk by for a beer to take in the view. Thanks for reading today – May the Journey Never End!

6 thoughts on “Tasting Mornington – Kirk’s on the Esplanade

  1. Not bad! The wagyu steak looked like it had potential, but it’s a shame that it wasn’t cooked well…those drinks look great, albeit abundant for myself; what were they besides vino? Thanks for taking us on a tour of the place!

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