New restaurant openings in Lorne (Gourmet Chick on the Surf Coast)

Just like Melburnians have a sworn allegiance to North or South of the river when summer holiday time swings around there is an annual migration either to the peninsula or the surf coast.  My heart lies firmly on the surf coast side and this year I made my yearly pilgrimage to Lorne for two weeks of eating, swimming, napping, reading books, drinking and then repeating the whole process.

The newest restaurants in the beach side town

Last year I wrote an article for Broadsheet about the best places to go in Lorne but even in a sleepy little beach town things move on and so I discovered this summer my article is already out of date.   The much loved Lorne institution Ba Ba Lu Bar had closed while there are now a couple of new restaurants and cafes as compensation.   Epicure ran an article last week about new restaurants in Lorne but it missed out on the latest opening and included a few places which have been around for a couple of years now.  Here’s my take on Lorne’s newest arrivals:

Grilled corn at Mexican Republic

1.  Mexican Republic
You know the whole trend for Mexican restaurants has really jumped the shark when even Lorne has a Mexican place.  Still, although Mexican Republic appears to be heavily inspired by Melbourne’s Mamasita and Fonda Mexican restaurants it is actually pretty good.  The cheap and casual vibe of a Mexican cantina is perfect for holiday eating and you can sit at the outdoor tables at Mexican Republic looking out to the ocean as you nibble on corn on the cob ($4.50) charred on the grill and smeared with smoky chipolote mayo, cheese and topped with a squeeze of lime.

Mushrooms and goats cheese tostadas at Mexican Republic

While the mushroom, chorizo and goats cheese tostadas ($11) are not really the most authentic Mexican dish on the menu, they were actually pretty good with a good contrast between the crispy tostada and the soft cheese and mushrooms.   Of the tacos we tried the best was the slow cooked beef brisket ($7) with red cabbage which was melt in the mouth tender.  The slow cooked pork taco with pineapple salsa ($7) sounded good on paper but was a bit soggy to eat.

Pork and pineapple soft taco at Mexican Republic

The tacos are small so you will need to order a few but as far as I’m concerned this style of casual, cheap, fresh food is perfect for being eaten beachside.

Details: Mexican Republic, 1A Grove Road, Lorne (Ph 03 5289 1686)
Damage: Reasonable.
7/10 Mexican Republic on Urbanspoon

2.  Frangos and Frangos
The biggest news in Lorne was the opening of iconic Daylesford restaurant Frangos and Frangos at The Cumberland hotel.  There are some nice touches to bring some of the character of the Daylesford restaurant to Lorne with some big communal tables, lots of bunches of fresh flowers and some interesting stools made out of wood stumps.  The menu is European influenced with pizzas cooked in the woodfire oven and lots of pasta on the menu.  To start we loved the pan fried kefalograviera cheese with poached figs.  What’s not to love about fried cheese after all.  If you are feeling hungry the five hour braised shoulder of lamb is a brilliant hunk of meat.  For $65 it is advertised as serving two to four people but with three of us sharing it we couldn’t even finish.  Unfortunately service is all over the place and our meals were forgotten and when they did arrive the lamb was missing the yoghurt sauce and pita bread that was listed as accompanying it on the menu.

A hunk of meat – slow roast shoulder of lamb at Frangos and Frangos

We also visited Frangos and Frangos for breakfast.  Service was much smoother at this time of day and while pricey, the Greek style omelette ($18) with fried potato, red onion and fetta was brilliant and could have easily served two for breakfast.

Greek omelette served in its own frying pan at Frangos and Frangos

Frangos and Frangos is still new so hopefully they are able to sort out their service issues so the rest of the whole experience of eating there matches the cracking views out over the beach and the food.

Details: Frangos and Frangos, The Cumberland, Lorne (Ph 03 5289 1896)
Damage: Pricey.
Frangos and Frangos on Urbanspoon

The Epicure article also mentions Pizza Pizza and Bottle of Milk.  I can really recommend both – the burgers at Bottle of Milk are sensational but more importantly so is the coffee – finally decent coffee in Lorne! Both Pizza Pizza and Bottle of Milk have been open for a couple of years now though.


  1. Wow that is an impressive looking omelette!

    Also love the idea of Mexican beachside…!

  2. those tacos look great! Went to Radio Mexico last night in St Kilda and whilst they were about the same size, thought it was good cos we could try a few different flavours 🙂

  3. Andi – It was good

    Ashley – Yes it was a huge omelette!

    Iron Chef – That’s true – a good point of smaller tacos is you can fit in more…

  4. Your hol sounds amazing – have got weather envy, it’s -3 here in UK!

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