Peninsula Perfection at Flinders Hotel

Flinders Hotel Terminus Restaurant Flinders Hotel

“Let’s keep ordering wine so we can 'cheers' all night” says my appreciative dining companion, signalling how incredible our weekend has been in the Mornington Peninsula. We’ve escaped Melbourne for a weekend of food and wine, but the Mornington Peninsula is more than just a wine region and we find a destination that is enchanting and naturally breathtaking.

Just 75 minutes from Melbourne, we cruise down the main street of peaceful township of Flinders admiring the streetscape peppered with antique stores, bakeries, galleries and boutiques.  At its heart is The Flinders Hotel, an impressive redevelopment of the original hotel and masterful addition of restaurants and accommodation, creating a gourmet precinct.

But this is no pub accommodation, with 40 stylish rooms and suites. The hotel opened in September 2012 and is all fresh, modern and well appointed. The cloud like beds are laden with heavy quilts, perfect for winter weekends and decadently dressed in Abode European bedlinen. The spacious bathroom has a large shower, quality fixtures, Aveda toiletries, thick luxurious towels and slippers and robes to pad around the room in comfort.

And then we ate… One of the reasons we’ve come to Flinders is to try onsite restaurant Terminus.  Offering a sophisticated fusion of North African, French and local cuisine courtesy of talented chef Pierre Khodja, it’s been awarded one chef hat by The Age Good Food Guide 2013 and it’s clear to see why. The intimate setting feels plush and warm helped by an open fire and a hushed, tranquil tone. The menu features robust flavours and we order lamb rack, braised shoulder, merguez sausage with raisin and almonds. It’s a brilliant winter dish, but the hero of the night is Turkish delight soufflé with halva ice-cream. The staff keep things relaxed and precise with a wine list that highlights local labels and the experience is overall faultless.

Yabby Lake Vineyard Terminus Turkish Delight Souffle Terminus Wine

Continental breakfast the next morning is a generous choice of quality ingredients, however the setting in Peninsula doesn’t quite work. The space doesn’t know if it’s a bar, breakfast room or conference space and some further work on it's identity are needed.

There’s no lack of places to explore further afield and we are taken through our paces with wine tasting at Yabby Lake Vineyard by the knowledgeable and friendly staff.  Next stop is Port Phillip Estate, it's great sweeping curve of cement structure isn’t welcoming, but once inside you’re in a cocoon of cool with central fireplace, delicious tapas and sweeping views of the vineyard below. We’re also treated to some special tastings at Stonier and Paringa Estate.

Our second night, we keep things local with Flinders Hotel’s casual dining hot spot, The Deck. We make an error by not making a reservation finding The Deck is buzzing with locals. The friendly maître d’recognises us as in-house guests and we’re quickly accommodated. After a weekend of indulgence we opt for simple fare of a selection of local & imported cheese, quince paste & lavoche, with a local Pinot Noir of course.

There is more to discover and return to including wine tasting at Oceans Eight and T’Gallant. Ten Minutes by Tractor is also recommended for a special lunch, but book ahead. For breakfast or treats, try Merricks General Store next to Stonier.

From award winning dining, spectacular wineries and luxe accommodation, there is much to celebrate in the Mornington Peninsula - you’ll find yourself able to ‘cheers’ the weekend away.

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