I like wine. A lot. I have a passion for pinot and a soft spot for sparkling. I'm mad about merlot, cherish chardonnay and am sentimental about shiraz. I do not however like pretentious food. I am of the opinion that a $3 paper parcel of good chips is far superior to a $50 single slice of mushroom on a giant white plate with a swirl of oil across it. My boyfriend on the other hand just loves tiny swirled food on giant white plates, but would happily discuss the tannins and plum notes in a glass of metho if it was poured for him. For this reason, we sometimes struggle to find a place we agree on for dinner and drinks. It usually descends into a long, impassioned debate which ends in a packet of rice crackers and a glass of water on the couch.
Recently, nestled in a row of small Mordialloc shops, I came across a solution to the problem. The Mordialloc Cellar Door is amazing for two simple reasons; the wine and the food.
From the outside the Mordy Cellar Door looks like an ordinary café. On entry however, it turns into what could be described as a cluttered bottle shop, but what I prefer to think of as a wine wonderland. The selection of wines and the range of prices is extensive, impressive, and above all mouthwatering. The term "boutique bottle shop" doesn't do it justice. It's really more of a magical bottle shop Narnia. Upon inspection, I even managed to find my favourite wine which I have only ever had in a pub in Daylesford (where it is made), and have only ever found for sale two shops down from that pub at a local independent bottle shop. This won me. The selection seemed to know no limits.
My attention was presently drawn (read: dragged) away from the wine, and past the coffee machine and tiny counter to the beer fridge, where beer after unique beer greeted me with smiling caps. From everyday lager to Seven Seeds coffee-infused ale, although it was of considerably less interest to me, the beer selection was nonetheless equally as impressive.
Above the fridge, things got exciting again. Listed daily on the blackboard above the beer, the Cellar Door has a rotating daily selection of innumerable wines by the glass that you are welcome to buy and sip over a book or with friends in the outdoor area (a stone's throw from Mordialloc beach), or in the cosy little back room lined with books, art, and racing car memorabilia. If you're not sure what you feel like on the day, all of the daily wines are available for tasting. In the unlikely event that none of these are to your liking, and you happened to bring friends or are simply overenthusiastic, you are also able to buy any of the bottles from the racks and drink them there.
But what of the food? The Mordy Cellar Door has the most extensive menu on the planet. Pizza, pasta, Thai, sushi, bread and dips, steak, Mexican, fish and chips, any salad, happy meals, European, hot dogs, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free… even tiny swirled food on giant white plates if you really want. Anything you can imagine is on the menu. This is because the Cellar Door encourages you to bring your own food so you can enjoy your wine in the best possible way; your way. In fact, rather than an in-house menu, the food menu on the website lists restaurants within walking distance that do take-away. Whilst there are some cheeses and a few small things for sale in the shop, the focus is on the top-quality wine and making sure you get your maximum enjoyment out of it.
The Mordy Cellar Door is a relaxing and fun place to be. It is very clear that the owners are passionate about their wine, and this shines through to and even rubs off on patrons and staff alike. The outdoor area and back room are constantly filled with the warm sounds of friends catching up, book pages turning, and newspapers rustling. The best thing you will hear however, is the notable absence of couples arguing over what to eat.