Group dinners are always interesting affairs to organise, especially when you haven’t got the hundreds of restaurants in the inner city to choose from.
Tonight’s dinner is for one of Catherine’s best friend’s birthdays and there is a good gathering of us at Manhattan In Mornington. You find MiM just off Main Street but in a dark and quiet area.
Inside, the restaurant quickly fills up, including in the mezzanine upstairs. There is no design awards being won for the decor but there is nothing essential that is missed and the atmosphere is great. In fact, there must be at least five birthdays tonight judging by the singing – there may be more! Initially there is attentive although inexperienced service which tapers off as the restaurant gets busier and eventually gets a little frustrating.
One out of the box is the polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce. We were warned that they are great, but I would not be ashamed to call them stunning. Any return trip would call for at least an extra serving of them.
I chose the duck pappardelle for main once I was informed by our waitperson that it is homemade. The pasta is impressively made, keeping firm and grabbing the flavoursome duck, cherry tomatoes and pesto, to combine into a delicious dish. Catherine equally enjoyed her lasagne. It has good richness and plenty of cheese, which was a definite theme in several of the dishes. While it could be seen as heavy handed, there is nothing wrong with that when it comes to lasagne.
MiM is an excellent venue for a group in Mornington and that was self-evident. The food is high quality and reasonably priced. I know it is difficult to get good staff as you get further outside the city, but their attitudes were good, so a bit more training and they might be more attentive. It is not always necessary to up-sell – I actually wanted a coffee, but by the time someone came to take my order I had asked for earlier, it was time to go. Outside of those types of flaws there is plenty of reason to return to Manhattan in Mornington.