Transformed establishment a venue for everyone

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Back in business . . . Publican David Murdoch Miskimmin and partner Leonie Adam are excited to finally open the kitchen and bar. PHOTO: ANGELA JANE PHOTOGRAPHY

A revamped Mornington establishment opens today.

Publican David Miskimmin (Murdoch) has given the former Mornington Tavern restaurant a makeover, creating a relaxed, homely atmosphere for people of all ages to enjoy.

It is now renamed the Mornington Kitchen & Bar, part of the renamed Mornington Taphouse in Mailer St.

Murdoch wanted the business to evolve and to develop a space that can be visited all day.

So, in addition to dinner dining, the restaurant also features a cafe with a great array of coffee, sweet treats, tasty salads and delicious savouries.

Carla Donaldson, the executive chef, has also created a delicious new dinner menu but don’t worry, the famous schnitzel (cut by the legendary Gordie Baird, the in-house butcher) hasn’t gone anywhere new spin on it.

Part of Carla’s push is to use local Dunedin suppliers wherever possible to support and promote local producers. The kitchen, where possible, endeavours to create everything in-house to offer wholesome homemade food at an affordable cost.

There is also a new stone-based pizza oven.

In addition to Carla, the Kitchen & Bar has employed Amy Kreft, who specialises in cabinet food and pastry work. There are many amazing treats in store for customers.

New dishes will include a range of share platters, perfect as an after-work snack, especially when paired with a wine or two.

The rest of the menu consists of wholesome meals, which can be enjoyed in any of the five different areas of the restaurant.

That includes a cosy, relaxing space near the front windows with comfy seats and coffee tables. The fireplace with bar leaners is the perfect spot to have a drink with friends, while the lower tables are the ideal place to dine, with a great view out to the ocean.

“You get a different aspect wherever you sit,” Murdoch said.

Partner Leonie Adam said the original plan was to give the restaurant a new coat of paint and some new furniture.

Lion New Zealand brand check out popular and refurbished bars.

They were shown around 16 bars which created the vision for what they wanted the Mornington Kitchen & Bar to look and feel like.

They were put in touch with Sophie Burns of Burning Red Design, who specialises in hospitality design, and the ideas “morphed” from there.

The original plan was out and in came a top-to-bottom renovation.

“So, it just started off as a wee reno and turned into a huge one,” Leonie said.

Murdoch and Leonie were thrilled when they saw Sophie’s plans.

“It was next level,” Murdoch said.

“She hit the mark straight away.”

Leonie said a major part of the new plan was to make sure the restaurant could operate from morning to night.

They also wanted to accommodate children, so will have games and activity books for young ones.

But, for those who want to pick up a coffee on the go, a new app will be available soon so they can order ahead of time.

The idea was simple: “Drive in, park up in our driveway, come and grab your coffee and scone, and jump back in your truck and boom, job is done,” Murdoch said.

One major benefit of Mornington Kitchen & Bar is the 92-space car park.

That means people can have a drink or two after work, leave their car in the car park and collect it in the morning. There are two courtesy coaches to take people home and they’re at ease knowing their cars are safely parked off the road.

“And you can have a bit of breaky in the morning when you pick your car up.”

The renovation started in mid-February and was almost complete before it was put on pause during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Most of the base work was done and all that was left was the beautification, which restarted in Level 3.

While stage one is now complete, the next stage is to create a covered outdoor area on half of the deck.

This area would be perfect for conferences, birthday celebrations and meetings.