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For as long as I can remember, “Sing a Song of Sixpence” was my favourite nursery rhyme of all time. I used to get Madam Mummy repeat it to me until I had the words engraved and etched in my brain. At the last line of the rhyme, Madam Mummy would sing “When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose” and tweaked my nose leading to me laughing uncontrollably from the tickles that would ensue.

Up to this day, I have fond memories of the tune and the song. It wasn’t until later in life did I notice that the ending of the nursery rhyme ended quite gruesomely. Actually, most nursery rhymes are quite violent come to think of it.

So when I heard about a new restaurant with the name of Counting House which had recently opened at Mornington, my heart skipped a beat.

Could it be? Was it a sign? Would I come away laughing with giggles?

Then the invitation came which included a lift to the Mornington Peninsula (thank goodness) and an introduction to the Counting House Restaurant, which used to be the town’s old bank.

The old bank vault is currently being restored to be the restaurant’s wine cellar šŸ™‚ I found that really cool.

The restaurant is co-owned by Max Griffin and head chef Gavin Ong (who trained under Curtis Stone and Marco Pierre White) who have gathered forces to bring a little touch of “French finery to Mornington” without the fuss of fine dining.

All I knew, was that when I read the invitation, there was Marco’s name in there somewhere and the food, had to be at least passable in standards. MARCO! I love Marco!!! (veryĀ necessaryĀ use of exclamation marks)

As we were the first guests to arrive, we were given a little tour of the restaurant and I couldn’t help but run around excitedly snapping the portraits of the famous illustrations by Walter CraneĀ (located in each dining area) taken from the nursery rhyme, such as the counting room Ā and the parlour.

It was too cute!

I also liked the use of recycled furniture scattered throughout the restaurant, such as the dining chairs, which are recycled Merlot wine barrels.

EntreesZucchini Fritters, Persian Feta, Leeks; Pork Belly, Ginger Vinegar, Apple Puree, Braised Witlof; Scallops, Pea Puree, Crispy Carrot, Sweet Wine Reduction; and Quail Trio, Pan Seared Breast, Terrine, Scotch Egg.

All too soon, it was time to behave and sit prettily as the food arrived. The scallops were perfectly cooked even though it came resting on pea puree šŸ˜›

Other notables were the crispy pork crackling on the pork belly and the zucchini fritters had a nice ooze with the use of Persian feta (oozier than the normal ricotta cheese commonly used elsewhere).

The finalĀ entreeĀ was a Sashimi Style Tuna, Avocado andĀ Gazpacho Sauce. It was delicious and I couldn’t get enough of the minty Gazpacho sauce. Upon further digging down into the sunken plate, we were rewarded with slices of avocado.

MainsPumpkin Gnocchi, Sauteed Green Vegetables, Boursin Cheese; Crispy Duck Breast, Foie Gras Stuffed Figs; Scotch Fillet, Bearnaise Sauce; and Corn Fed Chicken, Sherry Vinegar Sauce, Macaroni Cheese.

When it came to the mains, each of us were allowed the freedom to choose from the main menu, and from around the table, we managed to get pretty much one of everything! Win!

For ourselves, the Boy had theĀ Snapper, Pepperonata andĀ Pesto SauceĀ which he found to be sweet and fresh. The beauty of dining at Mornington Peninsula is the freshness of the seafood available in the area.

I, of course, had to have theĀ Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb andĀ Eggplant PureeĀ which was delicious! The meat on that lamb was just so tender and succulent. Mmm… Mary should be proud of her lambs, that’s all I’m saying šŸ˜›

We were also given a side of frites, French peas and potato dauphinoise to share.

DessertsBread & Butter Pudding, Clotted Cream; Lemon Curd, Chocolate Basket,Ā Fresh Berries; and Chocolate Fondant, Strawberry Ice Cream.

For desserts, the winning dish for me had to be the chocolate fondant. Rich and creamy, it certainly was one of the better ones I’ve had this year.

Counting House certainly surprised me with the quality of the food. The potential to rise up the ranks of notable country restaurants is certainly there and it can be seen with a kitchen team that respects local produce and has the passion of cooking good quality food.

It certainly is heart warming to see that more and more good quality restaurants are emerging in Victoria’s beautiful country side with high-end quality style food, that won’t burn aĀ considerableĀ hole in your pocket.

I would most certainly drop by for a visit if I’m ever in the area and tuck myself in to those lovely scallops, zucchini flowers, that amazing lamb rack and finish off with soft gooey chocolate fondant.

[Ms I-Hua and The Boy dined courtesy of Ā Counting House Restaurant and Gun Communications]

*Disclaimer: All food ratings & review are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and qualityĀ at the time of visit

For other recaps of that night, please visit:

Iron Chef Shellie
Popcorn & Toast

Food/ Cuisine:Ā Modern Australian (French Inspired)
Dining Style:Ā Restaurant

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday, from 12pm for Lunch & Dinner
Closed on Mondays

787 Esplanade
MorningtonĀ VIC 3931

Tel:Ā (03)Ā 5975 2055



How to get there:

Counting House on Urbanspoon