Queenscliff Hotel is an heritage-listed hotel built in the late 1880's in Queenscliff, a quiet seaside resort only one and a half hours from Melbourne, to which the rich used to escape during summer. The building is visually magnificent, with most downstairs rooms retaining sensitively renovated Victorian architectural features and appropriate-to-the-period furniture, furnishings and artwork.
Four of us visited the Hotel for lunch last week, including two friends from England. Beforehand we spent a fascinating 15 minutes watching a scene being filmed for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Series 2, as filming was taking place in Gellibrand Street, directly front of the building. Being in the right place at the right time was quite coincidental, but the scene acted as a wonderful introduction to the era as we walked up the hotel's steps and through the front door into the building's wonderful interior.
We had decided to eat in the hotel after noticing online that the lunch menu included vegetarian, lactose-free and gluten-free dishes, which suited all our tastes. Lunch was served in the Courtyard Restaurant/Bar, which was a little more modern in decor than the front, traditional section of the hotel. It was a very hot day so we chose to sit inside, but through the French doors we could see several tables set in a pleasant garden courtyard. The lunch menu offered a choice of two courses, from entree, main course and dessert, for a very reasonable $29. Drinks were extra though not expensive and the local house wines we ordered were very pleasant.
The meal itself was lovely. The locally-sourced seafood was a real delight - succulent mussels and beer-battered flathead fillets - but others in our party also enjoyed the vegetable soup, home-made chicken and vegetable pie (fabulous pastry) and mushroom risotto. As all dishes were clearly cooked to order we had plenty of time to relax and talk before and between courses.
For two hours we thoroughly enjoyed both the historical surroundings and leisurely meal, before leaving with regret but just in time to catch the totally 21st century ferry over to Sorrento.