David Weill (pictured far right), his brother Simon (centre) and close friend Nathan, are the trio behind the much loved local family restaurant, Volpino. These three Mornington Peninsula mates had a united vision to create a Mediterranean-inspired destination that is more than just a place to eat.
David knows all about food, wine and heartfelt hospitality. “My brother Simon and I learned to appreciate food from our grandfather who owned a chocolate shop. We were brought up with a love of food in our veins, and a love of creating a warm and welcoming environment.”
David has been involved with several Peninsula venues over the past 10 years including The Rocks in Mornington and Fork to Fork at Heronswood. He was also part owner of Ciao Bella Pizza. He has travelled extensively, spending lengthy periods in Northern Italy with his Italian partner, learning about the local cuisine from her family.
“I love food,” says David. “It’s what I’ve always been involved with really. And my partner is Italian and we have spent a lot of time there. Food is at the heart of the Italian culture, there is always a conversation about food – at breakfast you talk about lunch, at lunch you talk about dinner and at dinner you talk about the following morning’s breakfast."
Says David, “When I sold out of Ciao Bella to my then partner, I had an exclusion contract of 20kms. Mt Martha is 22kms away so it was the perfect location. It’s a great Village in a beautiful location, and it’s a massive suburb with a growing population. We originally looked at the restaurant in South Beach but the timing wasn’t right, so we were really pleased when we found the ideal spot for Volpino, with a well-sized indoor restaurant and a good sized deck for outdoor dining.”
The whole Volpino team has been well and truly adopted by the Mt Martha community. Located directly opposite the Mount Martha beach, Volpino is a great venue for an afternoon drink and pizza, a family gathering or a romantic dinner for two. Open every day from midday until late, customers can dine at a time that suits them, or just pop by for a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail or two, served up with some delicious snacks.
David, Simon and Nathan have now embarked on another adventure, taking over one of Mt Martha’s most loved, and most iconic locations.
Says David, "We’ve always had our eyes on the South Beach site, so when it became available we jumped at the chance to open a relaxed dining space that’s perfect for locals and for those enjoying a day at the beach. We settled in Dec 23rd, did three soft openings before the end of 2017, and officially opened on Jan 2nd which is traditionally known as one of the busiest days of the year. It was crazy, in fact all of January was pretty crazy."
"We're so thrilled that Chef Mat has joined our team. I worked with him at The Rocks, and he comes to us with first class experience from cheffing on the most amazing super yachts all around the world. He has an incredible knowledge of every type of cuisine. He specially loves Asian food. He cooked for my brother Simon's 40th birthday party which we held at South Beach at the beginning of April, and it was fabulous. He can do anything! We also brought on Jess who has worked with me for over 10 years in various locations including Heronswood, Ciao Bella and Volpino, and she agreed to join us as Manager of South Beach Project. We have such a competent team here, including Nick who's our Assistant Manager."
South Beach Project is open for breakfast and lunch serving casual meals to anyone who wants to pop in. You can come straight in from the beach with no dress regulations - thongs, singlets, barefoot – everyone’s welcome, sand and all. It's easy, breezy, delicious food - fantastic burgers, the best fish and chips and a contemporary Aussie breakfast menu with treats like Brisket Benedictine Eggs, Congee, Baked Eggs and Buttermilk Crumpets. During winter the team are running an all day dining menu, so if you head there in the afternoon and want an omelette, they'll whip that up for you. (They've got fantastic ice-cream too...)
Explains David, "I have to say the best part about opening South Beach Project is that I got to move Simon here while I'm at Volpino! Working with me, if he had any hair he would have pulled it out by now! We needed a consistent focus on each business. Simon's so fast paced and he loves coffee too - and of course he loves that he doesn't have his big brother telling him what to do. He's got his own identity here."
One of very special things about South Beach is that it's the most stunning Mt Martha beachside spot for hosting special occasions. With breathtaking views of Port Phillip Bay and the Melbourne city skyline in the distance, only a 100m from the sandy shore and with a light, bright and open venue with a blend of indoor/outdoor options, where better to celebrate?
And with Chef Mat taking care of the fare, you can be assured of fabulous catering options too, from Asian to Spanish to a seafood extravaganza or a Mediterranean feast.
You can even get married on the picture perfect South Beach in front of the iconic beach boxes and then wander over to your stunning venue where you and your guests can be greeted by an Aperol Spritz and freshly shucked oysters.
Sounds divine hey?
Ph: 5974 4443
Images: Kate Donnelly @ www.lovethepen.com.au