With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the rolling golf greens of Moonah Links in Fingal, Pebbles Restaurant feels primed to impress. Locals have come to expect the regular hoards of golfers refuelling after a round, but with a new head chef at the helm, it’s also bringing in a diverse crowd of diners seeking a playful culinary experience.
The newly appointed Chef Dipen Patel has worked in some of the world’s top kitchens, from the grand Taj Falakuma Palace Hotel in India to Zibibbo in Wellington under Michelin-star chef Adam Newell, before landing a prestigious gig at Dinner by Heston in Melbourne. The results of this experience are evident, with Dipen demonstrating meticulous attention to detail and a knack for creating serious depth of flavour.
The technique-driven menu reflects Dipen’s upbringing, incorporating traditional Indian spices with skills learnt whilst foraging, fishing and hunting with his father in New Zealand. Here the produce is sourced from Scicluna’s, with delicate herbs and garnishes such as saltbush and peppery nasturtium grown in Moonah Links’ own kitchen garden. The a la carte menu also provides inclusive dining for vegans and those requiring FODMAP-friendly options.
For entrée, try the NZ Ora King salmon mosaic – delicately deconstructed and reassembled with vibrant pops of caviar, beetroot, orange, wasabi cream and nori wafers. For a localised starter, perhaps the king mushroom with Red Hill grown funghi, fried enoki and olive soil creating a miniature forest floor.
For mains, the Marrakech lamb shank with spiced lentils, pickled cucumber and smoked yoghurt is a standout based on a traditional South Indian curry. Or, try the 18-hour slow-cooked BBQ brisket, with tender smoked meat charred to perfection. When it comes to sides, we can’t go past the thrice-cooked duck fat chips served with creamy truffle mayo.
Once you’ve made it through dinner; you’re in for a treat. Here, the real theatrics are saved for dessert. A silky water mint panna cotta is served with salted caramel glazed pineapple and mint jelly that melts in the mouth. Then, there’s Dipen’s signature citrus cheesecake – made to resemble a mandarin’s lustrous outer shell. It’s an absolute showstopper that tastes as good as it looks.
A thoughtful wine list features local drops from T’Gallant, Paringa Estate, Ocean Eight and Foxey’s Hangout. Tempting cocktails includes the Sunburnt Country – made with Penni Ave lemon myrtle vodka, eucalyptus tea and Foxey’s sparkling – the Flinders Spritz – made with Bass & Flinders limoncello, rosemary and thyme – or the Two Bays Martini – an ode to the Mornington Peninsula.
The spacious main restaurant seats 70 comfortably, with dining on the terrace when weather permits. For those looking for a more casual bite, Spike Bar next door serves up a menu of tasty snacks, light meals, and decadent desserts in a relaxed bistro setting.
With two award-winning golf courses, 70 deluxe accommodation rooms surrounded by native bush, and the iconic Peninsula Hot Springs located just next door, it’s the perfect spot to kick back and sample some of the best that the Peninsula has to offer.