First Judges’ Comments 2017
New foodies’ mecca in the Bellarine
Merne at the Lighthouse is a hot-house of talent jointly owned and run by Matt Dempsey (Chef at the 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 the olive groves with views of Swan Bay, newly planted grape vines and a Plummer bird protecting its nest from the flocks of birds passing by, young gum trees in a row 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 the food presentation was perfection. The meals were exceptional, elegant and flavoursome. The menu is designed for sharing with a choice of two courses with option for dessert at extra cost, or four courses at a fixed price. Merne’s enticing menu showcases freshest and finest produce from the Bellarine Peninsula. There was an extensive selection of good local wines and page dedicated to craft beers. This restaurant is serious about the foods and service it presents and will be a great attraction for the Geelong region. We had a fabulous dining experience. Merne is the perfect setting for weddings, functions, or to impress your guests for business luncheons; intimate dinners or special occasions. You will not be disappointed.
Highly talented team. Beautiful bush setting. Exceptional, elegant and flavoursome meals. Good drinks menu. fabulous dining experience.
- STATE WINNER – 2017 GOLDEN PLATE 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 Person – Caleb Fleet – Sponsored by European Affair
- FINALIST – Best Chef – Josh 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