Despite the high standard of food and service at Merne, it somehow manages to avoid feeling overly formal or pretentious. But when you’re surrounded by vineyards and olive groves it’s probably hard not to be friendly and hospitable.
Merne sits on the same site as Loam, the Bellarine Peninsula’s acclaimed fine-dining restaurant, which closed in 2013. Rising from the ashes, Merne has carved out its own chunk in the region’s epicurean scene, focusing on a share-dining service perfect for sharing a bottle of local wine.
Choose from either the two- or four-course sharing menus, which surprisingly, considering the quality and amount of food, come in at under $100 per person. The first grazing course alone contains four separate dishes such as kingfish, oysters and stracciatella with charred vegetables. If possible make sure you try the poached ocean trout and kohlrabi as a main (you get to select two), as it cuts like butter.
While at Merne take some time to go for a stroll in the olive groves and peek into Lighthouse Oil’s shop underneath the restaurant.