Best places to eat and drink on chilly autumn nights in Geelong
27.04.2022

Best places to eat and drink on chilly autumn nights in Geelong

1915, North Geelong
1915, North Geelong
1915, North Geelong
Kebabs On High, Geelong
Frankie, Geelong.
Frankie, Geelong.
Frankie, Geelong.
Frankie, Geelong.
Splatters, Geelong West
Splatters, Geelong West
Edge, Geelong
Edge, Geelong
Edge, Geelong
Toki, Torquay
Toki, Torquay
Toki, Torquay
Black Sheep, Geelong
Black Sheep, Geelong
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The nights draw in, leaves turn from golden to red, crispy chills take over while cosily lit venues beckon us inside, winter coats emerge: Geelong in autumn has a distinctive charm and we're here to celebrate it.

With cool sun-kissed days, Geelong’s Botanic Gardens glowing with earthy hues, stunning sunrises, grape harvesting at the local vineyards and leaves crunching underfoot in the park, there’s a lot of love about this time of the year. But one of our favourite things is to toast the change in season with a visit to some of our much-loved cafes, restaurant and bars, many of whom boast amazing local produce and comfort food dishes.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here

Here are seven of the very best local spots that you can cosy up in this Autumn.

1915

Whether you’re playing fine-dining-local or simply curious to find out what all the fuss about Chef Andy Symeonakis is, get dinner at 1915, where a moody setting and the delicious, Mediterranean-inspired menu make for a great Autumn meeting place.

Providing the ultimate pit stop on a chilly day, with over 400 carparks onsite, and space to seat and feed150 at any given lunch or dinner service, 1915 is the whimsical restaurant set inside a 100-year-old red-brick boiler house in Geelong.

Exemplifying old-world glamour, the venue boasts polished concrete, lofty ceilings, bright pendant lighting, exposed beams, and weathered red brick feature across the open-plan with a grand staircase leading to a sweeping second floor. The airy space is bathed in light, providing the ideal atmosphere for indulging in fine-dining finesse on the Northside of town.

Of course, it’s Symeonakis plating up top-notch local fare that will have you coming back for lunch and dinner time and time again rain, hail or shine. Try the Hervey Bay scallops baked in their shell with Aleppo butter and herb crumb; handmade Neapolitan style pizza; or the Gippsland Black Angus Scotch Fillet Steak, chargrilled to your liking. A favourite for the colder autumn days is the fluffy handmade gnocchi with Salerno tomato, fior di latte and herb crumb.

There are also sweets and a cheeseboard, and the option to simply “Trust the Chef” by way of their extremely popular $55 three course ‘Feed Me’ option. With a focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients and simple flavours, to be enjoyed with friends and family for any/all/no occasion at all, Symeonakis is about to launch a new menu in coming weeks which will inject some entirely new seasonal dishes into this feed me option, while a kitchen expansion will enable Chef Symeonakis and his team the ability to experiment and expand their repertoire.

Here, it’s all about stepping inside a beautiful space and enjoying every aspect of the experience. Tuck yourself into one of their cosy tables, grab a Southside cocktail or glass of pinot noir and order a bunch of smaller plates so you can sample all the goodness.

Where: 1915 is located at BH2 / 33 Mackey Street, North Geelong

Book: 1915.com.au

 

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Kebabs on High

As the weather turns cooler amongst delightful sunny days, clear nights, and the occasional shower of rain, sometimes you want to spend your Autumn nights indulging in a simple meal in a low-key space or taking that meal away and enjoying it tucked up on the couch.

For this, Kebabs on High is a go-to for first-class Turkish comfort food. Always packed, always welcoming, and always a good time, the vibe of this restaurant is what’s kept locals coming back time and time again across its two Geelong locations, in Belmont, Newcomb and Norlane.

Of course, it’s their kebabs that they’re best known for. Serving up simple yet delicious combinations of meat, bread and salad, drizzled with garlic sauce and served alongside crispy, lightly seasoned chips, and you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven.

They have multiple variations of kebabs that you’ll probably have a hard time picking just one. From lamb, chicken and falafel, to a mix, a carb-less Kebab and a veggie option, there’s seriously something for everyone. You can even get a kebab plate, which comes with a choice of meat or falafel, Turkish rice, bread, salad and two dips; and there are kebab salads, kebab rice bowls and  gozleme.

Of course, their HSP is the real hero here – a popular dish that includes lamb or chicken, chips, cheese plus toppings of your choice while the dessert is the cherry on top with Baklava, Baklava cheesecake (yes, really!) and Nutella dumplings.

Presentation is key for Kebabs on High, and not just for the food. The restaurant’s dining area is one of the most visually striking takes on a kebab shop you’ll see. Featuring sleek black interiors and punctuated with retro neon signs, it’s definitely a league above the rest – if that’s your style, that is!

Where: Shop 6/152 High St, Belmont, 120 Bellarine Hwy, Newcomb and 64a Robin Ave, Norlane. 

More info: Kebabs on High

 

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Frankie

Escape from day-to-day hustle and bustle at Frankie on Malop Street in Geelong’s CBD, where a moody setting and pan-Asian fare make for a great Autumn meeting place.

Treat your special someone to a memorable meal in one of Geelong’s most beautiful venues, with its high ceilings, large windows and architraves and intricate ceiling details.

For five years now, this elegant restaurant has been all about sleek lines and a trendy vibe – with wood floors, all polished leather, beige leather couches, and soft rose-gold accents, matched with comfy plush chairs, a neutral bar, and stunning art to deliver an ambient setting for lingering over Saturday night drinks or romantic evening dining.

Emanating a rich and welcoming ambience suited to smart, casual dining, it’s only elevated further by the exceptional menu on offer, spanning all parts of Asia and resulting in a stunning feast that will transport your tastebuds to cloud nine, welcoming the cooler season in the very best way.

An ever-evolving menu features fresh local and seasonal produce, such as housemade dim sims, Korean fried cauliflower, crispy Korean BBQ pork spring rolls, Japanese style crispy popcorn chicken, mega Thai curry puffs and flash-fried local squid to keep the hunger levels at bay. We recommend ordering the prawn steamed dumplings and the pan-fried pork and chive gyoza, both served with delicious accompanying dipping sauces.

Nothing says Autumn more than dishes with a little more heart, and that’s what’s on the menu here with slow-cooked beef cheek curry, Mongolian Wagyu beef meatballs, Japanese Yakitori chicken skewers, Bang Bang chicken noodle salad and DIY Peking Style Duck pancakes. Round it all out with rice, Asian greens and a selection of bao buns and you’ll be reminiscing about this place for years to come.

And while the shorter, cooler days have signalled the end to a long, hot, dry summer, Frankie’s drinks menu is bringing the heat all year round, featuring wines from local and state wineries, and gorgeously garnished exotic cocktails, courtesy of the award-winning staff. Crafted on-site and featuring traditional cocktail classics as well as frankie.’s own concoctions, must-try cocktails include the Clover Club (usually made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lemon Juice, Raspberry Syrup, Aquafaba), the Cosmo (42 Below Vodka, Lime Juice, Cointreau, Cranberry Juice), Expresso Martini (Vodka, Fresh Expresso, Crème de café, Baileys Irish Crème) and the choc-choc-Grey-Goose-tini (Grey Goose vodka, Mozart Dark Chocolate liqueur, creme de cacao and cream).

If you’ve got a classy black dress hanging in your closet or a suave suit looking for a night out, this is the place to show it off on a cool Autumn night.

Where: 9-11 Malop Street, Geelong

Book: frankiebar.com

 

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Splatters Cheese Bar

What better combination on an Autumn evening than wine and cheese?

Late-night ‘cheese worshipping’ restaurant and bar Splatters in Geelong West is a haven for those seeking a unique after-work drink and bite to eat with friends.

Home to Australia’s very first ‘cheese train’, the former pharmacy on Pakington Street has been transformed into an immaculately styled, welcoming venue. Sporting a bright yellow sign, exposed brick walls, cheese grater pendant lights (amazing we know), yellow couches and bar stools, a central bar, a killer playlist, live music and an epic conveyor belt, the venue is ideal for the cooler weather.

Fuctioning just like a sushi train, punters take a seat bar side for them to gaze longingly into the perpetually rotating belt of cheesy goodness where you can browse more than 75 plates of cheese, mouth-watering charcuterie and accompaniments. Each plate will set you back between $5 and $14, unless you head on in on Thursdays where you can get unlimited plates for just $79, or during Happy Hour on Fridays for $6 plates.

Better still, it’s licensed, so you can pair your cheese with a cocktail, beers, spirits, or a glass of red or white.

To make the most of the autumn breeze, pop on a coat, grab a cheese board and sit outside in the beautiful Garden of Edam. With yellow stools, wine barrels and umbrellas, this spacious and cheesy outdoor oasis is perfect for late-night cheese and wine dates all year round.

Come June and the venue will also be launching fondue Fridays, so there’s a lot to love about this cheesy haven.

Where: 168-170 Pakington St, Geelong West

Book: splatters.online

Edge Geelong

As the leaves turn from golden to red, there is no better place to enjoy Autumn and all her splendour than Edge Geelong, located on the spectacular waterfront. 

With a gorgeous north-facing bar, New York loft styling and a trendy outside deck area; not only does Edge give patrons a world-class view of the beautiful Corio Bay, but from the moment you arrive, you feel like you’ve entered a relaxed paradise – regardless of if you’re in town to soak up the sun on a summer’s evening, or enjoy a stylish soul-warming dinner.

There are a million reasons to visit Edge (we could go on and on) and one of those is for their new autumn and winter menu, featuring a new mix of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an updated cocktail list too!

Going above and beyond to source high-quality, organic and free-range produce from local suppliers, you can be assured the hearty dishes are top-notch. The chefs have lovingly created a mix of innovative, fresh flavours and elevated pub classics Edge is renowned for while keeping things cosy and comforting for the colder months. Think seafood Laksa in a mild coconut broth, a filling Angus beef burger served with golden fries, and creamy risotto with chorizo, asparagus and slow-roasted tomatoes. Further highlights on the mains include the scotch fillet and the vegan beyond burger, sure to warm you up from the inside out.

A favourite here is of course the tapas to share, with the option to mix and match 4 dishes for $44 or 5 for $55. As always, it’s a massive menu spanning different flavours to suit all tastes and dietaries – including plenty of gluten-free/vegan dishes. We adore the pumpkin and mozzarella arancini balls and sweet and spicy Korean chicken wings. Delightful!

With a delicious breakfast menu, best served with daily papers and quality coffee and gentle tunes to set the scene, Edge also makes our list of one of the best places to start your morning, if you’re more of the early-riser type. From freshly squeezed OJ and St Ali Coffee to triple-stacked choc chip pancakes, brekky burger and fresh smashed avo on toast, there’s a warmth here that has been incubated by a venue that has had a lot of thought invested into it. And it has all the characteristics that make for a perfect cold autumn day haunt.

The cosy ambience attracts Autumn diners, while the cocktail menu will make them stay with a balance of fruity, sweet, sour and boozy beverages to get the party started. The ‘High Society’ is their boujee twist on a margarita made with tequila, pink grapefruit and mandarin liqueur, complete with a gold salt rim. The ‘Cotton Candy’ is another favourite, with the liquid served on the side to pour over the fairy floss at the table. The perfect accessory to a cool, autumn night. Better still, Edge has your back when it comes to being cost-effective. The venue runs $14 cocktail specials switching up on the hour, every Saturday from 6pm-12am, and on Sunday from 3pm-9pm for ‘Cocktail House’, while offering $12 Espressos and Pornstar Martinis 4pm – 7pm Wed-Fri for ‘Social Club’. There’s a lot of love about that.

Where: 6-8 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong

Book: edgegeelong.com.au

 

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Toki Modern Japanese

From festivals to food, the fall season seems to permeate every aspect of Japan. After all, Japan is one of the few countries in the world that experiences four distinct seasons, and each one is joyously celebrated.

As the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to change, Japan becomes awash with breathtaking vistas of vibrant red, orange, and yellow leaves in the country’s many forests, alongside the return of comforting fall flavours, like chestnuts and freshly harvested rice, fragrant pine mushroom broth, and sweet persimmons.

While a trip to Japan would be truly beautiful, Toki is the place to go in the Geelong region where you can taste, smell, hear and actually feel like you are right in the middle of Japan this autumn – minus the travel fare.

Staying true to Japanese philosophy: uncomplicated, warm, with wood tables, concrete floors, timber panelling reminiscent of traditional tea houses, leather chairs, bronze flourishes, and a chic six-seat bar, Toki undeniably delivers a destination for those with a bit of a penchant for the finer things in life, with a beautiful interior with the food to match.

Delivering a modern approach to the rich traditions of Japanese cooking, Toki’s dishes evolve with the seasons and savour the peak flavour of ingredients. With Japanese head chef Motoki Saito at the helm, you’ll be in awe of the beautifully executed Japanese dishes brought to your table, reminiscent of vibrant and colours works of art. With an elegant mix of classic Japanese dishes, you’ll find everything from King Fish Sashimi and Soba Salad to Teriyaki chicken, Dashi Tofu Humberg and signature sushi rolls. Plus, for dessert, a Wafu Crème Brulee and dark green tea ice cream.

The menu is extensive, so leaving the choices up to head chef Saito is a decision you won’t regret, with a specially curated chef’s selection. The ‘Feed Me’ menu is available at $150 or $180 per head, allowing you to experience a truly Japanese dining feast with six or eight courses. Drinks-wise, there’s artisanal sake and shochu, signature Japanese-inspired cocktails and mocktails, local award-winning wine and a full bar with Japanese beer on tap, bottled beer, and a selection of local and international spirits, all perfectly curated to elevate your experience.

Toki is a feast for the eye as well as the palate, from the moment you walk up the stairs and sink into your chair until the moment you leave, sated and happy.

Where: Shop 14, Level 1 4-6 Gilbert Street, Torquay

Book: tokimodernjapanese.com.au

Black Sheep

Tucked away in the very heart of the National Wool Museum, Black Sheep is kind of like an Aladdin’s cave of gins with the luxe décor to match, making for a great escape from the crisp autumn air.

Taking over the ground level space previously housing Denny’s Kitchen, this magical wonderland showcases a healthy stock of Geelong’s finest boutique gins and some equally fine food, served in a warm, exposed-stone dining room, plus a lounge with chesterfields.

Made for sharing, the menu is bursting with bright and delicious European flavours. You’ll find items like roasted garlic pizza, lemon pepper calamari, crispy pork belly, and roasted garlic pizza if you’re after something small. For the more substantial dishes, choose from the crumbed chicken Wiener Schnitzel, roasted pumpkin risotto, a 200g Eye Fillet, oven-baked fish of the day, mushroom ravioli, and mouth-watering wood-fired pizza. Add on some sides like French fries, sauteed broccolini and Austrian style Mac n Cheese and you’re in for the night.

Be tantalised by the ‘Feed Me Feast’, which offers a chef’s selection menu of the greatest hits and signature dishes to share. For just $55 per person, dishes are mixed and matched to cater for dietaries and preferences – but a typical feast may include items like the 12 hr slow-cooked pork hock, chilli garlic prawns, wood-fired pizzas and chocolate custard tart infused with Anther Cherry gin to finish, welcoming the cooler seasons in the very best way.

Shining a light of local gin distilleries, gin tasting paddles are the perfect way to warm up on a cool night, featuring five of the venue’s top picks from the ‘Chamber of Gin’ – a collection of gins from Anther Spirits (North Geelong), The Bellarine Distillery (Bellarine Peninsula), The Queenscliff Distillery (Queenscliff), Flowstate Brewers & Distillers (Torquay) and Great Ocean Road Gin (Aireys Inlet). Not only instantly warming, but these are also a great way to sample a taste of the region, right in the heart of the city.

If late-night snacks are more your vibe, Black Sheep also offers a brilliant ‘After Hours’ session, operating for late-night drinks, desserts and cheese platters every Friday and Saturday night from 8pm. Charming in every way, here you’ll find ‘Nightcap’ drink specials on selected gin and tonics, whisky, wine and plenty of cocktails. On Saturdays, there’s even a DJ providing a great vibe after dinner to wind down or get the party started, all the ingredients for a perfect Autumn night.

Where: Ground Level, 66 Brougham St, Geelong

Book: blacksheepgeelong.com.au