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Cptn Jack’s on Western Port Bay launches seafood van in time for summer

Words and Images: Richard Cornish

This is one of the Mornington Peninsula’s best-kept secrets. It’s a seafood restaurant on the edge of Westernport at the end of a country lane.

It’s 50 minutes from Melbourne via the Monash Freeway and Westernport Highway on the outskirts of Somerville. It’s a weatherboard ‘shack’ overlooking Yaringa Harbour, a sheltered manmade cut in the mangrove forest giving land access to the north end of the bay. While the harbour location has industrial chic the interior of Cptn Jack’s is a seamless mix of The Hamptons meets French antiques. Good cutlery, stemware and French napery.

Chef Dave Cafarella has a love of Asian technique, so you’ll find dishes like prawn, crab and cabbage spring rolls with a tangy chili nam som dipping sauce. Scallops could be served in the half shell with a Thai inspired yellow curry with an XO like shrimp dressing. An outstanding dish is the Skull Island prawns and local mussels with a umami rich miso butter. The wine list is exceptional under the guidance of French born sommelier Quentin Launay.

While Cptn Jack’s has been going quietly for a few years the big news is he has a new sibling – Cptn Jack’s van. This is a retro caravan cum food truck carefully parked on the lawn outside. From it is served freshly cooked fish and chips, various cuts of seasonal seafood deep fried on demand, rice paper rolls, oysters shucked to order, ice cold beer and local wine.

The vibe is chilled with loads of lawn to sprawl out on, plus picnic tables and benches shaded by umbrellas. Just opened it is already attracting young locals who want to make the most of the maritime breeze and gluten free F & C. It’s a place for lazy summer afternoons enjoying the sight of boats bopping and swaying on the tide and watching the yachts make their way towards French Island.

What: Fish and chips, fried seafood and oysters served from a caravan
Where: Cptn Jack’s, 1 Lumeah Lane, Somerville. Down a country lane, on Westernport, between Somerville and Hastings
When: Cptn Jack’s Caravan has just opened. 11.30am to 4.30pm Fri-Sun
Find out more: Cptn Jacks

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