Merne at Lighthouse Drysdale

Multi-Award winning restaurant with a passion for excellence

First judge’s comments in 2018

Everything at Merne is consistently wonderful. You don’t visit Merne for a quick meal but to be indulged and enjoy a memorable dining experience – comfortable and reassuring yet challenging and surprising at the same time. This is the holiday house in the country and personal chef you dream of because at Merne you feel like a fondly regarded member of a special family. Chef Josh Smith shows off his skills and passion for subtle innovation and respect for quality ingredients. Front of house Caleb Fleet is a marvel at reading his guests and delivers beyond expectation in a kind and unobtrusive fashion. The setting of Merne is beautiful, the décor a delight, the drinks list a fascinating challenge, the service is superb, and the value for money is excellent. Whats not to love?

Special Strengths

Beautiful setting and decor. Customer service that make you feel special. A sensational dining experience where time flies. Remarkable value for money.

Second judges report coming soon

What the judges said in 2017

Merne@Lighthouse was the well deserved winner of the Golden Plate State Awards in 2017. It is a fine example of the best in contemporary dining in Regional Victoria. 

Foodies’ mecca in the Bellarine

Merne at the Lighthouse is a hot-house of talent jointly owned and run by Matt Dempsey (Chef of renowned Pettavel Restaurant and Owner Gladioli and Tulip restaurants), Caleb Fleet (Food and Beverage Manager Vue Grand Hotel Queenscliffe), Graham Jefferies (Pettavel alumni and Head Chef at Tulip), and Merne’s Head Chef Josh Smith (three years Sous Chef at Tulip and formerly The Royal Mail Dunkeld and Gordon Ramsay’s Maze).  Merne is set amongst olive groves with views of Swan Bay, grape vines and a Plummer bird protecting its nest from the flocks of birds passing by and young gum trees setting the scene for tranquillity and escaping from life’s hectic schedule. Merne is an indigenous name for “food from the earth”. Customer service was impeccable and presentation was perfect. The meals were exceptional, elegant and flavoursome. The menu is designed for sharing with a choice of two courses with option for dessert  or four courses at a fixed price.  Merne’s menu showcases freshest and finest produce from the Bellarine Peninsula. There was an extensive selection of premium local wines and full page dedicated to craft beers.  This restaurant is serious about quality and service and is a great attraction for the Geelong region. 

Special Strengths

Highly talented team. Beautiful bush setting. Exceptional, elegant and flavoursome meals. Good drinks menu. A fabulous dining experience.

2017 Awards

  • STATE and REGIONAL WINNER – Best Contemporary Dining – Sponsored by Comcater P/L
  • REGIONAL WINNER – Best Customer Service – Sponsored by European Affair
  • REGIONAL WINNER – Most Outstanding Front of House PersonCaleb Fleet – Sponsored by European Affair
  • FINALIST – Best ChefJosh Smith – Sponsored by Luxury Escapes
  • FINALIST – Best Menu of Local Foods – Sponsored by Western Plains Pork
  • FINALIST – Best Cellar of Local Wines Beers and Ciders – Sponsored by Furphy
Andersons Road 650
Drysdale 3222 VIC AU
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Restaurant - Contemporary Dining Contemporary Australian Cuisine Gluten free available Head Chef: Josh Smith $$-$$$ Cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard and Entertainment Hours: Mondays: 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm. Tuesdays and Wednesdays: closed. Thursdays 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm. Fridays and Saturdays: 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm (lunch) and 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm (dinner). Sundays 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm. Bookings advisable. Off-street parking.