I am invited to experience the relaunch of Mr Lawrence and I leave very impressed by the delicious Middle-Eastern inspired food and friendly service at the new venue. It is a much bigger space than its previous incarnation, with two storeys of dining and bar service on both levels.
Firstly, the view is stunning, with tall windows revealing the wide expanse of Port Melbourne beach. Upstairs the balcony twinkles with lights from the cruise terminal and Spirit of Tasmania.
In keeping with its beachside location the interior is airy and light with touches of the Middle East in the artwork, lighting and cutesy figurines.
I try a selection from Mr Lawrence’s ‘modern mezze’ menu with spices and ingredients influenced by Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African cuisines.
Highlights include crunchy Eygptian felafels with labne…
…house smoked trout shredded with potatoes to make a Lebanese-style potato salad…
…light-as-air .filo parcels filled with haloumi and feta accompanied by date jam and chermoula salmon with fennel and spinach tagine and fat mograbieh. Both the salmon and the boureks are the best dishes on the night for me
Having said that, leave room for the Moroccan Mess, a twist on the traditional Eton Mess. It’s a Pink Troll hairdo hiding a sweet mass of strawberries, rhubarb, double cream and smashed meringue.
Finally, the professionalism and generally chilled out nature of the staff is notable. Everyone is friendly without being overly familiar and the service is attentive without being fussy. Plates are brought to the table with a simple ‘this is the hummus’, not with long-winded flowery explanations, and water/drinks top ups are done regularly. It makes for a delightfully relaxed evening and rates Mr Lawrence as one of my favourite places to eat in Port Melbourne.
Mr Lawrence, 67 Beach St, Port Melbourne
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner