Casual and creative at Counting House


IMG_8338 2A sunny modern deck, a fresh coat of paint and new menu and the Counting House is back with a relaunch; with owner Max Griffin breathing new life into the circa 1912 bank building.

Relax on the front terrace looking over the park and bay, with a wine, a beer or just a coffee and cake, or enjoy some tasty delights from the new Counting House menu.

Inside the bleached wood décor and timber floors provide the perfect backdrop for the stunning new artworks that light up the rooms, so there’s still plenty of French charm to enjoy, from the restaurant that sits on the promenade.

With an extensive background in hospitality, Max has developed his skills whilst working in restaurants overseas and currently owning inner city bars. After moving to the Mornington Peninsula with his family, and teaming up with head chef Gavin Ong, he was finally able to fulfill his dream of owning a restaurant by the ocean when he purchased the 100 year old building.

“The historic building was previously the state savings bank, which is why it has the name Counting House,” says Max. “It has heaps of original features and even the repainting had to be done in heritage colours. We have the original building’s fireplace, pressed metal ceilings, and bank vault, which has been converted into a wine cellar. The blackbird silhouette is the emblem of the counting house and is historically significant.”

With dishes sourced from mainly local suppliers and a seasonal menu, Counting House always offers gastronomic surprises.

“Part of the refurbishment has been to change the menu to a more casual fare,” explains Max. “We had previously been more a la carte with classic French dishes and a more upmarket vibe. In moving with the times, we decided to stay true to our quality produce and dishes, but create a more casual menu that offers full meals as well as grazing plates and nibbles.”

Enjoy the best of both worlds with the Counting House offering delicious specials every day like the Counting House pie, or the Bank Sandwich. There is gnocchi with broad beans and peas, pork sausages with chargrilled apple and mash, and scotch fillet with fries. For those who like to graze, you can’t go past the pork sliders, duck liver pate, or pumpkin and goats cheese croquettes.

For a special dinner or catching up with friends, the evening menu is mouth watering, including oysters with shallot and red wine vinegar, pork, chicken, pistachio and prune terrine for starters, or clam linguine with white wine sauce, and smoked duck salad with beets and feta to name a few.

Counting House is fully licensed and offers a comprehensive wine list that showcases local wineries, and breweries in Red Hill and Mornington.

Counting House is at 787 Esplanade, Mornington. Phone 5975 2055

First published in Mint Magazine – November 2015

Author: Anne-Marie Tunks

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