Alex: These days there is never an excuse needed to treat myself to a beautiful dining experience. I mean, it’s all for research purposes…
Nevertheless, a quick Melbs trip in the first week of January allowed me the opportunity to visit a stunning venue that’s been on my list for quite some time. Doot Doot Doot at the Jackalope Hotel in Mornington Peninsula.
Shock horror, but the weather in Melbourne reached scorching temperatures during my time down there so a day trip to Sorrento left me nice and golden. Clearly, I didn’t think too far ahead because 6 hours later I was getting ready in the backseat of a car while lathered n Greece’s holy grail of tanning oil…Not ideal.
The hotel itself is a creative’s wet dream. The vibe is dark and moody and I felt as though I just walked into a Rick Owens fashion show.
We were early for our reservation so we stepped into the contemporary cocktail lounge, Flaggerdoot. Edgy art installations took over the room including faceless heads, gold draped chairs, an electric blue pool table and a golden axe. The lighting installation in the bar is enough to excite even the most unamused.
After our drink, we were ushered to the restaurant, but before reaching our table we were graced with sprawling views of the vineyard. A standstill moment which was further enhanced as I turned around and saw Doot Doot Doot’s 10,000 lamp chandelier which has been described as creating the surreal sensation of fermenting wine bubbling. Honestly, jaw dropping, and I found myself throughout the night constantly enthralled…and baffled by it.
At times, restaurants of similar calibre can be stuffy and off-putting but there was a refreshing sense of a holiday like atmosphere. A very relaxed vibe whilst still oozing luxury.
The restaurant offers a 5-course menu for $95pp. This current menu will only run until the 26th of January.
“A round of oysters to start?” was quickly vetoed by me and instead a snack of Mussels were brought out. My next least favourite thing. Thankfully they were drenched in a rich buttery oil that overshadowed any fishy flavour. The mussels were plump and meaty and were surprisingly delicious.
The restaurant is adamant about using produce that is in season and from the garden. The first dish, titled Vegetables 3.0 is extremely light on the palette. Each bite is refreshing and the flavours dance on the taste buds. An exciting way to start the 5-course meal.
The second dish is supposedly the most well-received dish from the venues first year. Spanner crab, potato, furikake, bottarga. A silky pool of decadent mashed potato was brought to the table with spanner crab floating above. The crab was sweet and paired instantaneously with the rich tones of the mashed potato.
Course no.3 was Duck, strawberry, rye. A crepe sat atop the duck with an abundance of foraged vegetables from the garden also making an appearance. The duck was drenched in something akin to a strawberry marmalade that really accentuated the flavours of the fresh strawberries.
The main dish of the evening is a choice of 2.
The first being Barramundi, pickles, vermouth. I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to try this dish but the skin looked to be perfectly crispy with a well-cooked flesh.
I opted for the second choice of mains, the Beef XO. Cooked medium rare with a range of Asian flavours taking charge. Hints of chilli enveloped the palette but only enough to play with your senses.
I was well and truly reaching a limit by this point but the final course of the evening was a winner. Simply titled Chocolate, Cherries. A thick bubbly chocolate crackle sat atop a rich cherry sorbet with shards of chocolate brownie and mousse below. The cherries were from Red Hill and have made an appearance on the dessert menu before.