Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Published August 8th 2021
Seafood so fresh, it could have been caught off the pier
Back in the 1870s, there were lovely salt baths in Sorrento but shorelines change with the wind, waves and tides of time. They used to be walled off, so no fish could enter, but stayed as fresh and clean as possible. There was separation between the men and women with tents to change in. Very English and of the times.
Sorrento Foreshore Pier and Historic Buildings 1870s - Nepean Historical Society
From history research, I was able to surmise that during the 1860s, Parliamentarians Charles Gavan Duffy and the theatrical entrepreneur George Coppin fell in love with the front and back beaches of Sorrento. Dubby built a holiday house there and Coppin began promoting it to friends and travellers from Melbourne. They started bringing tourists in by bay steamer to explore the beaches and the 'Ocean Amphitheatre' on the Sorrento back beach with the sea baths. They built a tram line across to these back beaches. While I was researching this, I triggered. "Oh my goodness, I have a historical picture of the Sorrento back beaches trams, that have been in the family for years."
Sorrento Back Beach Tram 1910 - Tricia Ziemer Collection
But I digress, Duffy selected the name Sorrento, based on Sorrento, Italy on the Gulf of Naples. In the 1870s, Coppin began building an extensive pier on the bay, where a steamer would dock, receiving buildings and the Historic Sorrento Hotel. A few years later, swimming baths were built, the walking tracks formed, and Sorrento Park along Port Phillip Bay foreshore was laid out.
We stumbled upon The Baths, when we were out and about, during our out of lockdown time. We headed to the beaches and stayed in Cape Schanck, at a lovely venue called the VIEWS, a stunning facility in the Mornington Peninsula.
We took the quick drive to Sorrento from the resort to explore the beaches and to find some lunch. I wanted to be able to see the water. I am a beach baby at heart. We discovered The Baths.
Even with restrictions, this restaurant was at capacity. Once you walk in, you know why. This star level eatery is right on the water with breathtaking 180-degree views across Port Phillip, the Sorrento Pier and the coming and goings of the Sorrento Fairy.
And they cater for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or any other special event. Can you imagine anything more wonderful than getting married on the beach and then walking into your wedding reception? Even as we were there, they were setting up for a function in the back room, with balloons, flowers and fine trimmings.
I was a bit concerned about a cut-down menu. I have found this at many venues as they try to keep costs down and still keep the freshest produce, menus have trimmed down. But the menu was robust with seafood. Just what you want at the sea, the freshest seafood.
And the calamari was real calamari/squid, not calamari product. Many pubs are serving a soft calamari product made of something else. It is soft and mushy. Calamari/Squid should be slightly chewy if it is a real product. Just ask a waiter to clarify with the chef that is true squid.
It is set up as a 3-course menu for $69 or 2-course menu for $59. This is very reasonable and great for us who are not sweet eaters. The menu is updated seasonally by the chef.
We spent a lovely time enjoying sunny views, local wines, fresh seafood and friendship. I would check the menu before you go to make sure something suits your taste and do book as they are very popular. The Baths is a very popular spot and at weekends, it is packed. If you can sneak away mid-week, you can enjoy with less "traffic".