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  • taniapanozzoworral


Updated: Jul 23, 2021

In 2018, the Melbourne institution that is MoVida tried it's luck at Lorne in the form of a popup below the well-respected Lorne Hotel. It wasn't long before the locals were hooked and fish-loving foodies from throughout the Bellarine Peninsula and beyond were flocking for their slice of seaside fine dining in a (dining) room with a view.

Like on all our travels, our visit to the Great Ocean Road had a foodie focus. Yes, we wanted an authentic and delicious serve of fresh fish and chips (and we got that and an amazing Greek salad at Captain Hooked) but looking for a dinner to remember is not always easy.

We had booked our weekend away post-haste during the second COVID lockdown to coincide with the school holidays; not a lot was open and while the fewer tourists was a blessing, I (*head holiday planner) struggled to know where to go. Lucky we had booked accommodation at the Lorne Hotel.

Following a night at the Cape Otway Lightstation, two nights' here was the perfect place to relax. Hotel stays are not usually our thing, but the teen daughters were happy to have their own space, as were the adults, and with only 15 modern-coastal interior designed rooms, its the perfect size. More like a modern lodge than a hotel.

The central location of the historic building set high on the hill gave us the best views across the foreshore. It was undergoing an amazing refurbishment to its function room during our stay, with a nod to its 150-year old history (including an amazing parquetry floor and staircase restoration!) but this in no way hindered out stay. And sighting the large "M" logo attached to the down stairs glassed basement as we set out to explore on our first day was an omen. We knew out dinner date was made.

MoVida moved to Lorne in January 2018, as the website says "It went off like a frog in a sock and booked out overnight. The idea of making it permanent was a no-brainer." As floor staff told us, the pandemic forced necessary changes to both menu and delivery. A set lunch or dinner package (with optional accommodation upstairs) allowed for social distancing and secure bookings. Delivery across the peninsular was also great for business.

The late lunch deal suited us fine: time for exploring in the morning, and the teens could do their thing (shopping) while we ate. The Menu del Dia ($75) or Chef's choice includes dishes from the Tapas (appetizers), Raciones (portions or Mains) and Postre (Afters or Desserts) ala carte menu.

“In the dining room, you can have an intimate dinner, a get-together with extended family or an epic group event. The bar, with its focus on local wines, whiskies and gins, is for whiling away the afternoon, snacking on tapas, and enjoying the sights and sounds of the bay.”

It was hard to pass up the opportunity to start with the hand-filleted anchovies. We had sampled these previously at the Hosier Lane headquarters and it didn't disappoint. This time the Catabrian artisan anchovy was topped with a quenelle of zesty tomato sorbet, it's fresh and cool hit to the palette was perfect to cut though the richness of the fish. It was the perfect starter to the more substantial but equally pleasing Pea, Mint and Buffalo Cheese Croqueta and Port Lincoln Sardines, Guindillas in a Soft Bun. The former was delicious, the sort of fried canape that would wow a backyard crowd of the refined sort. The latter putting local seafood to its best use.

Our main, was rustic fish stew and came with a Pickled Beetroot salad with goat's curd and cuscus. All this washed down with house sangria.

We finished off our meal with a view sharing a serve of churros; the delicate fried doughnuts came with an abundant pot of chocolate. And a serve of Pedro Ximenez sherry, as you do.


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