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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.

Updated: September 20th, 2018

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