Dining returns to Pt Leo Estate after fire, with luxe pop-up restaurant now open 

Article by Good Food Guide

Long lunches surrounded by world-class sculpture are back at Pt Leo Estate – but not quite as you remember them before the fire in May that closed the Mornington Peninsula winery’s two restaurants.

August 12, 2022
Emma Breheny

A new temporary venue, Pt Leo Pavilion, has been erected, boasting a custom-built kitchen, views of the estate’s lake, petits-fours trolleys and original art by Jane Valentine. From today, it’s ready to welcome up to 120 guests for relaxed family-style dining.

“Coming back with a completely new restaurant, we wanted a completely new offer as well. We thought it was a unique moment,” says culinary director Josep Espuga, who is thrilled to be working on new ideas.

His set menu, built for sharing, opens with a shower of snacks ranging from focaccia to duck-neck terrine, which is briefly grilled on the wood-fire. Striploin steak and barramundi also touch the grill; even the caramel for a decadent chocolate dessert is smoked over the fire.

“Our DNA is the same we had at Pt Leo [restaurant],” says Espuga, who adds that there’s still a strong focus on Mornington Peninsula produce, such as pickled Flinders mussels paired with beach succulents.

The pavilion, dressed with native flowers and enormous rugs, offers a new aspect to the previous dining spaces Laura and Pt Leo Restaurant, which sit in a different building on the opposite side of the estate.

“Coming back with a completely new restaurant, we wanted a completely new offer as well.”

Both of those venues are being rebuilt after the roof fire, but Espuga believes they’ll reopen before 2022 is over.

The cellar door also has a new menu, with Spanish-leaning snacks that nod to Espuga’s heritage, and a caviar and champagne bar open on Saturday nights.

Pt Leo Pavilion open daily from noon, Saturday 6pm-late. The cellar door is open daily for tastings from 11am, snacks available Fri-Sun 11.30am-4pm.