10 of Geelong’s newest eateries worth checking out

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10 of Geelong’s newest eateries worth checking out

The pull of a truly new place is hard to deny.

Another month, another wave of cafe and eatery openings in the region. These are the ones you should know about:

Kosaten Japanese Restaurant, Geelong

After seven months in the works, Kosaten Japanese Restaurant has called Geelong’s CBD home by swinging open its doors, with a unique and playful take on the traditional sushi train eatery that is popular in Japan. Here, instead of selecting from a stream of dishes as they travel past, you order from an a la carte menu via an iPad and the dishes and drinks are delivered directly from the kitchen to you via a train. Shinkansen-style.

Kosaten’s creative dishes blend the modern and traditional Japanese culinary style, using the best local produce wherever possible. From nigiri and sushi rolls to vegetarian delights, there is something for everyone on the appealing menu. You’ll also find oysters, Tataki, sashimi, fried prawns, Soba salad, Miso soup, and Edamame. There’s even Pork Belly, tuna salad, a wakame salad (Japanese style seaweed salad) and Japanese fried chicken, and they cater for vegans, vegetarians and those who are gluten-free, so it’s a good time all around.

You’ll also find some oh-so-delicious sake on the drinks list, alongside a range of beer, wine and cider. It’s of course the dessert that has our mouths watering, with a matcha ice cream, green tea pannacotta and vanilla ice cream with chocolate spring roll. Yum!

Where: 110 Ryrie Street, Geelong


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Bakery by Local Geelong, Newcomb

We really hope you haven’t given up carbs for the new year, because the Geelong just scored a drool-worthy new bakery and it’s from one of our favourite locals.

Landing with a bang on Ormond Road just last week, Bakery by Local Geelong comes to us from the team behind Local Geelong, a well-loved cafe slinging coffee, cake, brunch and pastries by day, and slow dough pizza and local wines by night. With sourdough baking being at the heart of the business, this new venture will allow them to focus wholeheartedly on bringing a variety of bread, baked goods and pastries to the Geelong community, while of course continuing to work with some of the best growers, makers and producers in the region. Boasting soft pastel tones, fresh open space, and stunning artwork by the one and only Lauren Green, the bakery is also serving delicious Everyday Coffee brews as well as a modest retail section with the best bits of the cafe on offer.

We recommend popping in early so there’s plenty of goodies awaiting you — and judging by the queue on opening day, we’re not the only ones who got addicted to the pastries from their cafe over the last few months.

Where: 8 Ormond Road, Geelong


Charcha, Geelong 

Having quietly opened its doors late last year, Charcha is the charming new restaurant serving up authentic Indian cuisine in Geelong. Taking over Chapel On Little Ryrie, a quaint café and function space that sadly closed down, the restaurant maintains the buildings past, with the high arched ceiling, the stained glass windows, the aged wood throughout and of course the quirky quote ‘Thou God Seest Me’ on the far wall as you enter. With the walls of greenery, vintage style festoon lighting, triple-panel sliding doors to the outside area, the fit-out alone is worth visiting for, mainly for its integrity to the heritage structure and the abundance of natural light.

The food, however, is where the Charcha journey really begins, taking you on an exciting round-trip of Indian cuisine. Inspired by spreading warmth through food, Charcha sticks to the ethos of its mother cuisine while delivering to a global audience, letting people explore their own gastronomical pursuits. Think authentic tandoori chicken, tandoori mushroom, fish tandoori, tandoori paneer, Haryali chicken (made with fresh aromatic herbs and spices), chicken Tikka, and for those that like it spicy, a peppercorn chicken tikka. There’s also hearty curries or Biriyani for those with an apetite, including lamb vindaloo, chicken korma, butter chicken, fish curry, chicken biriyani, lamb jalfrezi, and always a hero of the menu, lamb rogan josh.

You can read our detailed piece on the restaurant here.

Where: 10 Little Ryrie Street

SOUL, Newcomb

Opening merely a week ago, Soul is a wholesome new cafe and gourmet grocer to grace the eastern suburb of Newcomb. Under the helm of local Madelin Stone, Soul is all about being sustainable and supporting local business, stocking 95 per cent of the store with Victorian products that will make cooking a dream. You’ll find the best bits from Salt Kitchen, Castlemaine Dips, Lighthouse olive oil, Joneseys Dairy, Ket Baker, Otway Pasta Company, Tao Tonics, Milawa Cheese, Grace and Marie candles and Caravan Eggs, just to name a few. You’ll also find a range of charcuterie, wine, Kombucha, cupcakes, cold-pressed juice and even gin mayo. Of course, Soul wouldn’t be what it is today without Madelin’s own range of products, including sprays, rollers, bath salts and more – all of which you’ll find in store too.

While the grocer part is super cute, we’re living for the cafe side of things. With a bright open space, fresh flowers, large communal table and beautifully polished concrete floors, Soul is the perfect place for your mid-morning caffeine hit courtesy of Cartel Coffee Roasters and sugar rush with a number of delicious Ket Baker pastries on offer as well as homemade treats. Our eyes are on the Belgian choccie brownies. They’ve even installed an ‘Italian ledge’ on the outside of the shop window, for short blacks while you people watch. What more could you want?

Where: 58 Charles Street, Newcomb


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Keep up with the latest food and booze news via our website.

Pholklore, Geelong West

Opening on Pakington Street just last week, Pholklore (AKA the masters of Vietnamese in the region) are bringing all the best bits of their Torquay venue to Geelong, with their open-air Vietnamese diner set among shipping containers, lush greenery and Astroturf, large tables designed for communal dining and colourful hanging lanterns with tassel tails. Oh, and the food of course. You’ll find Pho Bo – a rare beef and brisket rice noodle soup that hits the spot any time of the day; Bun Cha – a dish with popular dish with chargrilled pork patties, spring rolls, vermicelli noodles, mixed herbs and a tasty dipping sauce; and the Pho Fusion which is just a delicious melting pot of mixed cuisines. Drink-wise, you’ll find local and Vietnamese beers, wine. and a range of pretty quirky pho-inspired cocktails.

We’re not joking when we say this is a destination for some of the best damn pho going around. Try it for yourself.

Where: Corner of Pakington St and Gordon Ave, Geelong West


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Dribbles, Geelong CBD

The hoop gods have well and truly delivered with Dribbles Burgers, a new basketball-themed restaurant that has graced Shorts Place in Geelong’s CBD. The second location for family-friendly basketball-mad Essendon business, Dribbles has become the place to go for stacks that are off-the-charts delicious. Committing to the basketball theme, the burgers littering the menu are all named after some of the game’s biggest stars. You’ll find a Jordan Royale, a Lebron Burner, Bosh’s Brisket, Landry’s Field, and our personal favourite, the Shaq Stack – a Shaquille O’Neal inspired double beef, double cheese, double bacon, caramelised onion, tomato, lettuce, mustard, Dribbles sauce and BBQ burger. A worthy name for a worthy burger. There’s also a gluten-free option if you’d rather swap your buns for a lettuce leaf and a Kyries Tofu caters to vegans with miso-marinated tofu, vegan kewpie mayo, bean shoot slaw, sriracha and a charcoal bun.

Others items to look out for are the Buffalo Wings (coasted in house-made buffalo sauce), jalapeno poppers, cheese and bacon chicken ribs, mac and cheese bites, and what our personal daydreams are made of, the CBF Washington hot dog. We’re talking smoked hot dog, mustard, fries, cheese sauce, bacon, tomato sauce and spring onions. Oh, and there’s even some kickass loaded fries, craft beers and indulgent milkshakes to wrap your lips around.

It’s not only the name and the menu that pays tribute to the great game, with bright urban graffiti lining the walls (courtesy of Set It Off Melbourne), wall-mounted TVs where you can watch the best of the NBA, and seriously innovative kids play area, complete with a basketball ring where all their slam-dunk dreams can come true.

Where: 4-6 Shorts Place, Geelong

Bùn u Bakery, North Geelong

The newest addition to Geelong’s love affair with bánh mì, Bùn u Bakery on Separation Street (previously Little Boot Café) is your new go-to for affordable and delicious lunches during the week.

Here, you’re spoiled for choice with seven varieties of bánh mì on offer, all for under $9. There’s roast pork, marinated BBQ pork, lemongrass BBQ chicken, and beef meatball, all for $8 or the cold cut meats, tofu for the herbivores and even a breaky Vietnamese sandwich with egg for $7.

Affordable, fast and most importantly, delicious, this little gem is proving to be quite popular with the locals, freshly baking their buns daily and completely selling out of bánh mì every day since opening their doors.

Soft and crunchy; salty and sweet, there’s nothing more satisfyingly foodie-approved for less than a tenner. You can thank us later.

Along with their glorious bánh mì rolls, you’ll also find an abundance of sneaky extras to round out your meal, like sav in batter, dim sims, spring rolls, baked pastries, cakes and salads, as well as coffee using DC Coffee beside.

Where: Unit 1, 67-69 Separation Street, North Geelong


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Eastside Pizza, East Geelong

If you’re looking for a slice of heaven, you can get it at Eastside Pizza — it truly is some of the best pizza to grace the east side of the city. Technically the shop opened in December, but we’ve only just stumbled upon them and they’ve simply stolen a pizza our heart.

One visit to this family-owned and run neighbourhood joint and you’ll see why. Casual, authentic and serving up saucy pizzas, Eastside Pizza’s range is full of all-stars, including your Hawaiian, Meat Lovers, Chicken BBQ, The Lot, Marinara and vegetarian, but for something a little different, try their gourmet range. With either a red base or a white, you’ll find a four-cheese pizza, a parmigiana pizza, a potato or broccolini creation and our personal two favourites, the Ortolana made with Evoo, mozzarella, grilled egg plant, roast peppers, grilled zucchini, cherry tomatoes, garlic and finished fresh basil; and the No 263 made with tomato, mozzarella, pancetta, fresh chilli, provolone and rocket.

If you’re feeling more like a Nonna-worthy pasta dish, they’ve also got you covered. You’ll find a number of traditional sauces – including bolognese, Napoli, carbonara, pesto and Amatricana – which you can pair with your choice in pasta, whether that be spaghetti, gnocchi, fettuccine or rigatoni.

Some of the best Pizza Geelong will serve you.

Where: Shop 1 / 263 Myers Street, East Geelong


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Black Sheep, Geelong CBD

The news of Black Sheep (previously Denny’s Kitchen) opening last month was like Christmas for our gin-lovers of the region with their ‘Chamber of Gin’ stocking some of Geelong’s finest boutique gins. A magical wonderland bringing you everything a laneway gin bar could, it’s actually their mouth-watering menu that’s landed them on this list.

The menu is bursting with bright and delicious flavours, designed to be shared amongst friends, (however can also be enjoyed solo ‘cos let’s face it, we all know someone who’s a little too territorial about their food). You’ll find items like roasted garlic pizza, chilli garlic prawns, lemon pepper calamari, crispy pork belly, and a roasted Mediterranean veggie stack if you’re after something small. For the more substantial dishes, choose from the crumbed chicken Wiener Schnitzel, mushroom risotto, Aussie style beef goulash, a 200g Eye Fillet, over baked fish of the day, spinach and ricotta tortellini, and a pretty tasty looking Calabrese salami pizza, complete with roasted capsicum, chilli and ricotta cheese. Add on some sides like French fries, sauteed broccolini and Austrian style Mac n Cheese and you’re in for the night.

For the sweet tooths, we spy stuffed Apricot dumplings, a mini premium cheese platter and a gin & tonic lemon tart. Intriguing right?

Where: Ground Level, 66 Brougham Street, Geelong

Neko, Geelong CBD

Okay so technically this is a re-brand, but it’s still something totally new for Geelong. Embracing fresh ingredients and homemade Japanese meals, Neko is an Asian-style cafe that has taken over John Doe Specialty Coffee.

The café is filled with Japanese staples and a range of cat-themed décor, (Neko or ネコ is the Japanese word for cat), while the new menu has been revamped with several Japanese dishes, including a handful of Donburi (Japanese rice bowls), pork belly bao bun, a Soba Noodle Salad, and my favorite, the Takumi Tofu Donburi, a nod to Initial D an anime about street racing in Japan’s famous tōge, or mountain-pass roads. There’s also your regular brunching items as well, like Avo on toast, egg and bacon wrap, granola, caesar salad and even fish and chips.

Of course, Neko will still be serving the same coffee that patrons of John Doe have enjoyed for a while now, with the café being a favourite in the area.

They’re open Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays.

Where: 237 Ryrie Street, Geelong


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