Mon Amour XO
It took two years to sculpt Mon Amour XO out of an old toy store. Design firm GABBE sourced ornate furnishings from France, Mexico and Morocco to create a distinctive space with touches of French bistro and Moorish coffee shop.
Custom-made mosaic wallpaper lines the upstairs dining rooms, and dark timber furnishings are a striking contrast against blonde polished floorboards. This isn’t a place that does things by halves.
Case in point: head chef Jake Sommers, whose CV includes stints at Montalto, Attica and Vue de Monde.
Early on, his team plates up smoked Black Forest ham with slow-cooked egg, goat feta and toasted brioche; and truffled potato gems with seasonal mushrooms and smoked Spanish cheddar. There’s a separate kids’ menu, too.
For the less committed, smørrebrød (Danish open sandwiches) are available along with croque-monsieur brioche, savoury pides and pastries. They’re best enjoyed with a cold-drip or espresso at the sun-soaked tables out front.
As the day progresses, the atmosphere grows more sophisticated. Robbins Island Wagyu, Flinders Island lamb, barramundi and confit duck hit the white-clothed tables accompanied by seasonal vegetables.
The drinks list is short and but considered. There are half a dozen Spanish beers, and wines from France, Australia, Spain and beyond. The focus is on versatile grapes such as rosé and pinot noir. If a bottle really takes your fancy, Mon Amour XO doubles as a bottleshop.