Up a staircase on the main street of Mount Martha is the bright and friendly eatery Mr Curtis.
A tropical mural, eclectic tableware and mismatched furniture mirror the bold flavours in the kitchen. Mr Curtis serves dishes inspired by Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines and there’s no lack of flavour and colour; the locals have their favourites – the lamb cigars and Moroccan lamb meatballs were top of the list, and now appear regularly on the specials board due to high demand.
Owner Lyndal Barnes opened Mr Curtis – named after her son – seven years ago, with a career in hospitality well and truly established. Formerly at the Brass Razu, the love of the industry runs in the family: “My grandma had thirteen eateries in her lifetime,” she explains.
When not upstairs on Lochiel Avenue, you can find Lyndal at the beach, the local yacht club or headed to Dandenong Market to source next weeks’ produce. As a Mount Martha local, she’s seen the area change and the calibre of eateries “really go up in the last few years”.
This evolution has seen more easy-going venues like Mr Curtis serving high-quality food and drinks all day long, with breakfast blurring into lunch, and lunch into dinner. Just the way we like it. Local wines, cakes and cocktails are usual fare here alongside Commonfolk coffee and daily specials.
Greeted with an abundance of hanging greenery, fiddle-leaf fig trees and plush, velvet seating, walking into Mr Curtis feels like arriving at a friend’s house, and their regular curry and paella nights are a great excuse for a meet-up in Mount Martha.
Outside a long wraparound deck with enviable views of Port Phillip Bay (arguably some of the best in town) is the perfect spot to get cosy and enjoy an Aperol Spritz or two with some share plates, while watching the sun set. When the bitter Peninsula winter sets in, outdoor heaters maintain the alfresco vibes.
The venue has become a favourite for intimate gatherings and even the odd wedding. It’s the kind of place that’s warm in winter and cool in summer, and they’re open every day of the week, from morning till late.