Cape forms the cornerstone of RACV Cape Schanck resort, tucked away on Trent Jones Drive overlooking Fingal Beach. It’s a slick leather-clad dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views out over the peninsula, wending its way to Port Nepean in the west. Designed by Wood Marsh Architecture, the interior of Cape echoes the curvilinear wave of the building’s skin, with tea-coloured timber contrasting slate-grey walls. Soft, deep, mushroom-shaped chairs and light fittings blown in the shape of melting wax provide an organic touch.
Executive chef Josh Pelham apprenticed under George Calombaris and Raymond Capaldi, as well as logged time at the two-Michelin-starred Square in London before taking on The Estelle by Scott Pickett.
At Cape he’s taken charge of the hotel’s entire menu, from breakfast through dessert. He’s also making use of local producers such as Main Ridge Dairy, superlative handmade cheese from BoatShed in Mount Martha, cold-extracted honey from Pure Peninsula in Moorooduc, and an olive-oil grown, pressed and bottled literally next door.
Traditionalists can opt for an enormous Sher Wagyu porterhouse, with a marble score of 6+, while the more adventurous should try the steamed wild mulloway with a bonito dashi, calamari and Japanese mushrooms. There’s also some of Pelham’s signature dishes, such as impossibly tender glazed chicken wings stuffed with leeks, caramelised shallots and dressed at the table in a roast chicken consommé, as well as his theatrical fondant, which, when pricked with a spoon, oozes warm chocolate that pools around quenelles of mandarin and vanilla ice-cream.
The wine list is satisfyingly local, with legendary winemakers such as Kathleen Quealy and Tod Dexter championed alongside smaller operators such as Foxey’s Hangout.