We had some friends form the USA staying with us last weekend.
It was wonderful to show off our region and The Great Ocean Road.
As long as the weather is reasonable (it was perfect), you don’t need to do much more than have a walk in the bush, a swim
at the beach, a drive to Lorne and, most importantly, indulge in the local culinary fare.
All of the above we accomplished with ease with a bonus of seeing lots of kangaroos. Saturday night dinner at A La Grecque and Sunday lunch at the new MoVida in Lorne were the highlights.
Both restaurants were buzzing and the service, food and wine exemplary (I will discuss A La Grecque another time).
The new MoVida is located on the bottom floor of the Lorne Hotel. Views over the ocean and coast north to Fairhaven ensure a spectacular backdrop.
It is a modern venue and includes a long bar (according to chef Frank Camorra, essential to any Spanish tapas restaurant) and an open kitchen. Following in the Melbourne MoVida tradition, the menu is Spanish inspired with a coastal flavour.
I had a quick chat to Frank whom I met when mentoring cookery students in Geelong several years ago.
He told me the restaurant was busy after starting with a pop-up last summer. It’s a long way from collecting mussels and the occasional octopus from the rock pools with his father when they emigrated from Barcelona to Geelong when Frank was five.
This region has come such a long way in the past 40 years. I remember my first holiday in Lorne about 1978. There was only one real restaurant: The Arab (where by coincidence, Frank started his apprenticeship).
Believe it or not, back then the Arab was the grooviest place in town.
In fact, when it opened in 1958, the Arab was only the third café in Victoria to have an espresso coffee machine.
At that time, it was a bohemian den where students and well-heeled holiday residents gathered to smoke, drink coffee and discuss issues of the day.
Readers of this column will know I have a healthy distrust of fashion in food and wine. What Frank Camorra brings to Lorne is not the latest offering of an over-produced celebrity chef, but a lifetime of experience, passion and dedication in transposing a thousand years of Spanish cuisine from his homeland.