What better way to kick off a long weekend than a trip down to Mornington for pizza?! I had the pleasure of attending Merchant Lane's Pizza Appreciation Night with $6.99 pizzas on offer but spoiler alert...they weren't the best bit!
Located right on Main Street, this spot doubles as a restaurant and a bar for the Mornington locals. It has a distinct garage grunge feel which suits the pizza and beer vibes. A bit loud and a bit rowdy but it's all about the atmosphere here and it works to its advantage. I did find an issue with some of the table being a bit too close for comfort though. Another issue was that the food took quite a while to get out to us considering it was overly busy.
Kicking things off was the Grilled Corn (Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika) which was a refreshing start. I enjoyed the creamy sauce that had worked its way between the kernals, making a nice contrast to the corn. I would’ve loved a little more spice to it as there was really just a sprinkle of the smoked paprika in the first bite.
Next up was another side, the Mac and Cheese Balls (Bacon aioli). DELICIOUS - It was not oily at all though it was deep fried which was a pleasent surprise. The aioli added an additional sweetness and creaminess that was unique and added something different but pleasent to the palate. Perfect little nuggets of crunch and fluffiness.
On to the main events, the Margherita Pizza (Garlic, tomato, basil, mozzarella). A bit of a let down to be honest as it was quite oily. I could tell the flavour was there though with a delicious sauce - the tomato added some real sweetness to the dish. Overall though, a bit too soggy and oily for my liking - could be perfect for pre's before a big night though!
Oh the Smoked Salmon Pizza (Spinach, capers, salmon, red onion, feta)...I was looking forward to it but it was just so-so. It was quite plain when you took a bite with the salmon though there was so much on it, the only flavour really came from the salmon. I also couldn’t find the feta, it could’ve melted but it needed the extra freshness of it sprinkled on top after cooking to lift the dish.
Finished up with the Sweet Potato Skins (Sweet potato skins, baba ganoush, avocado cream, pico de gallo) that was a good way to end the night. The crispy bits were the best and the dish tricked me into thinking I was being healthy...when that probably wasn't true but hey - guilt free eating! The baba ganoush and pico de gallo were good but I would've liked a bit more separation of the elements to pick and choose my bites.
Overall the friendly staff is enough to send you back here. I would highly recommend heading here for a beer and some food after a day at the beach or on your way out to a weekend away in Mornington. A perfectly chill way to end your day.
Presentation (5): 3.5
Taste (5): 3.5
Service (5): 3.5
Atmosphere (5): 4.5