After an almost year-long hiatus, Mornington Peninsula icon Stringers has reopened – but not as you knew it.
The longstanding corner cafe on Ocean Beach Road in Sorrento closed for renovations last September, just after it changed hands and the Darling Group took the reigns. (In 2018, the group snapped up three iconic Melbourne cafes: Higher Ground, Top Paddock and Kettle Black. It also owns Darling Cafe in South Yarra, Dundas & Faussett in Albert Park, and Bambu in South Melbourne.)
Now, it’s relaunched the historical Sorrento spot, a limestone beacon originally built in 1896. It previously traded as a daytime-only general store, but it’s been reborn as an all-day restaurant and bar with a providore selling fancy deli and grocery items.
“We’ve always had a strong affinity for the peninsula and Sorrento area, partly because of its relaxed feel but also because of the incredible quality of local produce,” group director Nick Seoud tells Broadsheet.
“Stringers is a key location in the tapestry of Sorrento and has long captured our hearts and attention, so when the opportunity came up to reimagine it … we jumped at it.”
A pizza oven imported from Verona serves the eatery all day, churning out Neapolitan-style pies made with 72-hour fermented and proved dough. And an Italian-style deli offers piadini packed with imported cold-cuts, plus pastries. On the breakfast menu, executive chef Ash Hicks (formerly of Circa, The Espy and Garden State Hotel) is serving his takes on the classics, with fluffy ricotta hotcakes and pecorino-topped truffled mushrooms on toast.
As well as pizzas, the lunch (and soon-to-launch dinner) offering includes excellent potato cakes with tartare sauce, a milk-bun cheeseburger, a 600-gram rib eye with green-chilli butter, and dishes centred around locally caught seafood. Plus, there’s an underground wine cellar stocked with rare and crowd-pleasing drops from the area (which you can shop from a dedicated wine wall in-store), and Stringers will soon also have its very own gelateria.
The bright, breezy refit – led by Melbourne’s Chris Connell Design (Hero, Agostino, Bar Carolina) – pays homage to the building’s more-than-century-long heritage. But it’s been freshened up with custom-designed furniture and modern, coastal-inspired touches. “We’ve fully restored the original building inside and out, ensuring that its heritage is respected through an architectural design,” Seoud says.
The sleek, light-filled space has a Mediterranean vibe. It spills out into a north-facing courtyard (with a huge olive tree) which “maximises all available light and allows the sea breeze into the venue – a reminder of the iconic location on the corner at the top of the hill.”
Stringers opens today, Monday July 18.
2–8 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento
(03) 5984 2010
Restaurant and bar