Cape restaurant brings fun back to fine dining on the Mornington Peninsula

Canapes with wine glasses at Cape restaurant at RACV Cape Schanck Resort

Nicola Dowse

Posted June 28, 2023

Whether you’re dining midweek or on the weekend, the award-winning restaurant Cape is focused on providing guests an unforgettable dining experience.  

When most people visit a fine dining restaurant the last thing they expect is to be brought back to their childhood memories. But it’s exactly that playful attitude towards haute cuisine that has earned Cape at RACV Cape Schanck Resort acclaim and awards since opening in 2018. 

Whether it’s upmarket twists on prawn crackers, dainty gougères reminiscent of crackers and dip, or possibly the best (and taking four days to create, perhaps the most laborious) sticky chicken wings in Victoria, the entire menu is designed to elicit joy and wonder.

“We want people to feel comfortable and we want people to have fun,” says Cape Head Chef, Ricky Morris. “Dinner here is like a night out, it's a three or four-hour event. It's like going to the movies, it's like going to a play.”  

Discover Cape Schanck's hidden culinary gem | RACV

Local focus

The five and eight-course set menu at Cape is strongly influenced by the seasons and location, with the salt-swept landscape of the Mornington Peninsula providing ample ingredients to work with. During autumn diners might be treated to local pine mushrooms and olive oil grown and produced less than 3km down the road, while in winter you might be dining on native wild fennel, Warrigal greens and winter purslane that’s been hand-foraged from the surrounding fields.

“We try to change the menu with the seasons,” says Morris. “We try to touch base and use a lot of native Australian ingredients, because they're very underutilised but they're full of flavour, very unique and really lovely.” One thing that doesn’t change is the playful, relaxed approach to fine dining that can see diners doing everything from slathering their wattleseed brioche with butter shaped like balloons to cracking open hollow boulders to reveal smoky morsels within. Such is the commitment to theatre that guests have even been known to ask if they can eat the seashells their canapés are served on (they cannot).  

Those on special diets don’t miss out either. Given prior notice, Cape is happy to cater to those with dietary requirements, providing a revised version of the standard dish that won’t leave these diners feeling like they’re missing out on anything. “When you are gluten free, or you're vegetarian or pescetarian, we try to make sure you're having the same dish as your partner, but a gluten free or vegetarian or pescatarian version of that,” Morris says.  

The extensive wine list is as localised as the menu, with 75 per cent of the wines offered, not to mention a selection of gins and whiskies, hailing from the peninsula itself. “The fun part about being on the peninsula is that we are blessed with a lot of Pinot Noir, a lot of Chardonnay, and a lot of Pinot Gris,” says Aaron Christian, Cape restaurant manager and head sommelier for RACV Cape Schanck Resort. 



Cape is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturdays to resort guests and members of the public. Photo: Matt Harvey.
The menu is kept deliberately minimalistic to surprise diners with every course. Photo: Matt Harvey.
Dishes focus on local and seasonal ingredients, including native Australian ingredients. Photo: Matt Harvey.

Award-winning dining

The restaurant’s commitment to seasonality and fine dining earned it the title of the first ever hatted restaurant at RACV, while 2022 provided Cape its most illustrious year to date, winning the Premium Dining and Best Restaurant of the Year - Regional categories at Restaurant and Catering’s VIC and TAS Awards for Excellence. In the same year, Cape also made it into Delicious magazine’s top 50 restaurants in Australia. Not that the team is content to rest on their laurels. 

“We just put the awards to the side and we just keep doing what we do,” says Christian. 

For those who are treating themselves to a midweek escape, Cape also offers the option of a three-course menu on Wednesday and Thursday nights, as well as the standard five and eight-course options. While the three-course menu is a great option for some, in Christian’s experience, the condensed menu only serves to stoke guests’ appetites further.  

“As soon as you see that first little canapé come out, you want more. You always want more.” 

Bookings for Cape Restaurant can be made by phone, or through the website. 
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