Surrounded by farmland, the town of Hastings is one of the ‘gateways’ to the lower part of the Mornington Peninsula, one of Victoria’s great tourist destinations.
Most of the area’s coastline consists of mudflats and mangrove forests, with boardwalks, hiking trails, boating and fishing providing tourists with much loved activities. Hastings offers an easily accessible small boat harbour which is fairly protected from prevailing winds making the area ideal for boating and fishing.
Roughly 90 minutes from Melbourne, Hastings is a great place to escape the traffic and unwind even if you’re just spending a few hours in a lovely café – which is exactly what we were doing – but we never expected a simple little café would offer the dining experience we had.
They say you eat with your eyes, and yes, that’s most definitely true, but in my case – this time, I OVER ate because of my eyes!
Pelikan Société, located at 2 Marine Parade Hastings, has a rather unusual menu for an out of city café. There are no burgers, no meat pies with sauce, no raisin bread, these are replaced with things like Goats Cheese Churros, Spiced Cauliflower and Onion Croquettes, Ancient Turkish Eggs served with Roast Garlic, Baba Ganoush, Aleppo Pepper Butter, Sumac, Coriander and Chicken Skin or Persian Lamb Ribs.
Always looking for a new taste experience, I ordered Goats Cheese Churros which was accompanied by goats curd and peninsula red gum honey. At $13.50 I was expecting quite a small serve to arrive but was very pleasantly surprised when a more than generous platter of churros was placed in front of me. With light and fluffy centres, crispy exteriors and a pleasant taste of cheese, these churros were incredibly delicious – but take them to the next level and drizzle them with honey and add a dollop of goats curd and they soared to vastly surpassed my expectations.
My dining partner, who is not an overly adventurous eater, ordered a bowl of chips – this again was a very generous serve and the chips were chunky cut, very crisp on the outside but soft and fluffy inside.
Our drinks – a chocolate milk shake and a Red Hill Brewery Pilsener – were served icy cold, which you would think is par for the course, but lately I have been served drinks that are nothing more than cool – has there been a problem in Victoria over the last few months with refrigeration temperatures?
For me, milk shakes can be very hit or miss as I am not a fan of ones that are too creamy or have so much sugary flavouring that my teeth feel on edge. This one was perfect, icy cold, not filled with excess cream and the perfect amount of flavouring to know it was a chocolate shake, but not enough to have me on a sugar high for the rest of the day.
I was half way through my churros when I noticed a gentleman seated near me who had been served a massive bowl of mussels. I didn’t remember seeing mussels on the menu! Mussels is one of my favourite meals, especially if there is some crusty bread close by to mop up those beautiful crustacean juices. After quizzing the waitress I discovered that the mussels had been on the specials sheet – which I hadn’t seen (or been told about).
So, even though the churros was a more than adequate serve (ok, quite big serve), I couldn’t resist the temptation of the mussels so placed my order. There was not going to be any wastage of the churros though, I had been offered to have the remainder of them packed for me to take away, but they were too good to stop eating.
My bowl of mussels, with a slice of toasted baguette perched on top, was placed in front of me – it was incredibly great value for $22.50. Cooked in apple cider with fresh herbs and slices of royal gala apple, these small but plump mussels were tender and delicious. The broth in the bottom of the bowl was rich and full of flavour. I wish I had counted the number of mussels that were in the serve, but believe me, it was lots and every last one of them was perfectly cooked.
Pelikan Société offers all day dining and is a bright open café with great indoor and outdoor spaces. I had the pleasure of speaking to quite a few members of staff and found them all to be extremely friendly and helpful , making me feel a part of the ‘family’.
In this instance Pelikan Société is a café that I stumbled across, but it is somewhere I will definitely be targeting for a great meal again.
2 Marine Parade
Call (03) 5909 8132
7:30AM – 4:00PM