Given the buzz ahead of the opening of Pt Leo Estate‘s restaurant, expectations could’ve readily been dashed. Instead Laura surprised with its perfectly pitched low-key luxury, its confidence and chef Phil Wood’s original, beautiful and completely delicious interpretations of the flavours of the Mornington Peninsula. There’s also the lure of a team of professional floor staff led by one of the country’s finest front-of-house folk, Ainslie Lubbock. The list features estate wines but also showcases great small vintners from across the globe.
Grounds filled with fine sculpture give way to pastures and then sea. It’s an enviable setting for skilled and often surprising cooking that uses a rollcall of great local ingredients – Flinders mussels, vine leaves from the Estate – in intricate, artfully plated dishes that speak of the region in a way that is new. This is an ambitious restaurant but it’s also quiet, comfortable and untroubled by the need to declaim its virtues.