Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 25-28, 2008: Sorrento - a tale of two breakfasts, two slices and too little Indian

Michael and I took advantage of the long weekend to make our first visit to the Mornington Peninsula, nabbing an overpriced room in Sorrento. There were walks and swims and ferry trips but we're all here for the food, right? Without anything more than a kettle in our room we were eating every meal out. Here are some highlights.

(Update 31/12/2014: Sunny Side Up is now closed)

Breakfast number 1 was at Sunny Side Up. This cafe was just our style - casual and beachy with smiling, friendly waitresses. Michael gobbled down a plate of rustic beans with parmesan cheese, basil and poached eggs ($15), while I kicked off the weekend with Bircher muesli (~$10). It was a great Bircher, with finely diced fresh apple and orange to lighten up the oats and strawberries and almonds sprinkled liberally on top.

It became quickly apparent that the Continental Hotel had a meal for every occasion, should we want it. We first visited for a lunch of bread, dips and salad and also returned for our final Sorrento breakfast. The menu was a bit meat-heavy, but there were no problems altering the standard dishes to our preferences. Michael's green eggs and ham omelette ($17) was a cast-iron pan of cheesy spinach-y eggs; I ordered my Danish waffle stack ($14) without bacon. The "what the...?" moment of the weekend arrived with my waffles, which were garnished with chives. I guess they were supposed to enhance the original sweet/savoury combination of maple syrup and bacon - I'm not convinced that that'd work, and it was downright weird with just the fruit and syrup. I didn't think the mashing of the banana was really necessary either, what with me still having teeth. Oddities aside, the waffles themselves were fantastic, and avoiding the chives was a small price to pay.

Next door to the Continental Hotel, Just Fine Foods has a reputation for excellent vanilla slice (pictured on the right). We snagged a table, a slice and a coffee on Sunday afternoon for $10.50 and watched roughly 60 serves fetched from the display cabinet while we ate. The pastry was golden and flaky, and the flavour was pleasant, but the custard texture was, dare I say it, a little too mucous-y for me. (Well, it's called a snot block after all!) But the inside story from Dromana semi-resident Purple Goddess is that the Continental Hotel does a fairly mean vanilla slice of its own (pictured left). In a head-to-head battle, I'd pick it too. While the pastry wasn't as flaky, the firm flavourful custard really won me over, and the squeeze of berry coulis was the perfect tangy garnish to offset it. I'm not going to deem it Sorrento's best - for starters, I don't want to tread on anybody else's turf. Besides, there are one or two other untested bakeries on Ocean Beach Road that do their own version.

(Update, 31/12/2014: Let's Go Greek is now closed)

I failed to set the VCR before we left home, and on Sunday night it was time to again make a song and dance about Bollywood on SBS. Unfortunately we couldn't locate any nearby Indian restaurants for dinner. International dining was limited to the Chinaman's Hat and Let's Go Greek so we went Greek. Actually, we first visited the Continental Hotel yet again for a cocktail. Strangely the bar that'll give you breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert isn't actually that interested in cocktails, though one of their lovely ladies whipped up something berry-flavoured and potent for $15 apiece. If only we'd known that Let's Go Greek had a cocktail menu, and it was a lot cheaper! Nevertheless, we took advantage of their Vegetarian Feast ($20.50). The spanakopita was cheesy-delicious and I don't want to, but I'm gonna say it: these lemon potatoes kicked the arse of the bowlful we received at the Press Club. Tender inside, caramelised and super-tangy on the out. So good!

Sorrento wasn't a perfect fit for us. (Sorrento's perfect fit seems to be a couple of empty nesters in a silver 4WD with a penchant for seafood and designer chutney.) Nevertheless, there was plenty for us to enjoy over our few days there. Best of all, the beach walks don't cost a cent.


  1. I found the vanilla slice from Just Fine Foods really to my liking Cindy. I felt the texture was fantastic. It just goes to show that everyone has different tastes and no one is ever right. We all just have an opinion.

  2. You are so thorough in your research and your trying out places - I am impressed - the greek sounded good! My childhood memories of food at sorrento is sand in my sandwiches at the beach and icy poles dripping down my arm :-)

  3. Thanh, you're absolutely right - it's all opinion. I can see why someone else might prefer the JFF version, I just have hang-ups about gelatinous textures generally. Still, it'd be nice to encourage a few more people to sample the slice next door. :-)

    Johanna, half the fun is in the planning! I'm sure Sorrento must have changed a lot since your childhood visits, the ordinary fish'n'chip shops and kiosks seem to be a minority now.

  4. "Sorrento's perfect fit seems to be a couple of empty nesters in a silver 4WD with a penchant for seafood and designer chutney."

    Muahahahaha! And *shudder*.

    xox Sarah

  5. I take it you recognise that scene, Sarah? :-D

  6. Nice adventure down at Toorak Sur Mer Daaaaahling! It's so-ooo different to how I remember it as a kid.

    I keep trying to herd the Custard Crusaders down to Sorrento for a Vanilla Slice eat off, I guess we'll get there eventually. I've had the Fine foods one before and it's probably too cream based for my liking, but 'Sweet Tooth' will love it. I must say that anything that requires a knife and fork to eat it will be marked down in score for 'Degree of Difficulty' on the Vanilla Slice Blog.

    Meanwhile, we have another Daylesford slice and a Frankston concoction soon to be under our belts to post.

  7. Hiya Sticky! :-) Yes, I think the JFF slice exhibits a high degree of difficulty; the Continental slice less so, it holds together better, but is still too large to just pick up dig in without a fork. I'm looking forward to the eventual Vanilla Slice Blog Sorrento Binge. Will enjoy the other reviews in the meantime...

  8. You are all just a pack of yuppies,! You haven't a clue what goes on in Sorrento on a day to day basis !You are too busy "sipping" on your lattes with your stuck up noses in the air !!!!
    From a local!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Hi local!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I wish I'd been able to glimpse 'day to day' Sorrento, 'cause the weekend version of silver 4WDs and trendy shopping in the main street didn't appeal to me much. Maybe you could take us on a tour sometime? In return I'd happily help you out with your punctuation.