Cleverly (and neatly) situated on the lower end of Mornington’s bustling Main Street, D.O.C. Mornington is probably one of the most authentic (and popular!) Italian culinary experiences you’ll have this side of Melbourne.
In fact, as a local of the Mornington Peninsula, I have even heard of some people travelling from inner-city suburbs just to come here to eat! Or maybe, as I reflect upon my own sense of nostalgia, they simply wish to create some beautiful memories by soaking up some sun at the beach and finishing up with a pizza…who knows?
Inscribed on their business card, D.O.C. proclaims itself to be a ‘celebration of heritage. A joy in sharing. Authentic, exuberant and outrageously Italian’. Some people may view this as hyperbole, but I think this claim to authenticity absolutely captures the essence of what they attempt to provide for their customers.
From the moment you walk in, you enter into a more-than-slightly frenetic atmosphere comprised of good conversation, friendly banter between the all-Italian staff and the sight of cured meats hanging in a small room to your left. If, by the end of your meal, you haven’t already been overcome by this ‘outrageously‘ Italian display, on your right is access to an in-house deli and fresh food store which (you guessed it!) contains nearly all imported Italian foodstuffs and freshly made pasta.
However, the culinary experience is what really distinguishes D.O.C. Mornington’s approach to Italian fare. With customers all packed together on long tables, this is not a place for romantic gestures nor for having a deep-and-meaningful with your dinner buddy. As such, you will often find you and your neighbour surreptitiously glancing at each other’s meals. Yet in cultivating ‘a joy in sharing’, perhaps D.O.C. wants us to question or discuss our meals with person next to us – emphasising the ability for food to act as a ‘system of communication’ (Barthes 1979, cited in Belasco 2008) between people.
On the two-sided menu – which prides itself on offering about 15 types of different gourmet, Roman-style pizzas – the back side features a map of Italy outlining the different regions that the ingredients originate from (e.g. Cerignola Green Olives from Puglia). Regionality and authenticity are clearly core focus points for D.O.C.
I opted for the Pizza D.O.C. ($22.90) which was exactly the same as the Pizza Margherita ($18.90) except the extra $4 netted you some rather exotic-sounding ‘Buffalo Mozzarella’. Arriving with a friendly ‘prego‘, my pizza was impeccably presented and with its base so soft it could melt-in-your-mouth, I departed D.O.C. Mornington with a thoroughly full stomach and Italy in my heart.
Images sourced from:
(Image 1) – https://www.beanscenemag.com.au/uploads/italianicious/articles/Ital-0911-gastronomy-DOC-Group-630.jpg
(Image 2) – http://visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/members/uploads/5801380552111.jpg