Surreal is the dreamy new restaurant in the heart of Geelong from the Donco team

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Surreal is the dreamy new restaurant in the heart of Geelong from the Donco team

Photographed by Evans Building Group

The duo behind Pakington Street's acclaimed Korean restaurant Donco have moved to the Geelong CBD with a new name, fresh look and delicious fare.

Don Koh and Yunie Choi are the powerhouse chef-and-front-of-house combination that propelled Donco to become one of Geelong’s most beloved dining destinations, filling a niche and tapping into their Korean heritage.

Now the duo have closed their Pakington gem and opened a brand new venue and the result is incredibly opulent.

Keep up with the latest food and booze news across the region here.

Pushing the boundaries of what we understand a CBD cafe experience to be, Surreal opened its doors at the start of June, taking over an iconic space originally functioning as a Baptist church since it opened in 1857.

Already the building effortlessly oozes charm with its high arched ceiling and abundance of natural light, however Choi and Koh have further transformed the space into a stunning, modern venue thanks to Evans Building Group.

Its beauty hits you from the moment the doors open and your eyes adjust to the modern architecture and classy monochrome colour palette across the open-plan space. The bright panelled bar and eye-catching spirit shelf evoke a sense of class and charm, while the a long table draws your eye to the centre of the room. Even though the space is large, all the elements work together to create a sense of cocooning warmth, helped along by the glow of the custom-made, pendent lights off centre to the bar.

This beauty even extends into the bathrooms which are, to be honest, quite luxe and breathtaking. Check out the Lego flower feature in the corner while you’re there.


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Positioning itself as a dining destination, experiences at Surreal are curated by the duo and their A-team of creative and multi-cultured individuals.

At Surreal, the menu exhibits and shows a new style of foods, drinks, art by embracing diversity and cultures.

While takeaway is of course an option (and a great one at that), it’s a sit-down affair inside the bright and airy dining space, with both Japanese and Korean staple dishes on the menu.

Start your day with coffee and dessert. Their Madeleines are daily baked treats that go perfect with a cup of joe, while croissants and other goodies are the ideal start to your day. If the sun is shining take a seat on their deck. Your four-legged pals are also welcome here.

The lunch menu is quaint but utterly perfect for when you need to refuel before heading back to the office or you’re just after somewhere beautiful to indulge in some hearty fare. Running tastes of Donco, for $15, lunch items include Bulgogi Rice Bowl, Fried Chicken Rice Bowl, Tofu Rice Bowl, Japanese Fried Chicken Curry Rice, and Japanese Tofu Curry Rice, all served with a complimentary coke (or lemonade). There’s also daily Onigiri with miso soup which will set you back just $9.


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The dinner menu is where Donco comes back into the fold. Running as a Donco Pop-Up Kitchen, bringing the best bits from the modern Korean fusion restaurant to this elevated dining space.

Start your Surreal x Donco adventure with crumbed eggplant, the mushroom miso arancini or go OG with Don’s Fried Chicken. We recommend the Korean Roasted Cauliflower. Slightly sweet, a little bit of crunch and entirely indulgent, you’ll adore this dish – I can almost guarantee it.

The rice bowls make an appearance once again however given a slight dressing-up for dinner, with deep fried chicken rice, tofu and eggplant rice bowl, sweet soy marinated beef bulgogi rice bowl and a miso glazed salmon rice bowl.

Bibimbap, one of the most well known Korean dishes, is a hero of the menu for sure, with options including tofu and eggplant, sweet soy marinated beef bulgogi and miso glazed salmon. Add on a side of Yuzu white kimhi, trip pickled mushroom or fresh green salad, and you’ll be full and incredibly happy.

Taking your experience to new heights, the menu Vol.1 also features Sesame seasoned smashed Tofu with green leaves, Burnt cherry tomato, grated Parmesan cheese; and Slow cooked tender Pork belly with Spicy fresh radish kimchi salad.

On Hibachi Grill, there’s Octopus cooking with Chimichurri, Edamame puree, and potato; Moreton bay prawn with Citrus zest and Kimchi salsa; Soy Chicken and leek skewers; Salt Chicken and leek skewers; Chicken meatball Skewers; Spiced Lamb skewers with cumin yogurt; and Plant only skewers.

Amongst these there are also gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.

For dessert, Japanese cheese mousse. Delicious.

Wash down your feast with something from their extensive drinks menu on Friday and Saturday nights, with a range of soft drinks, beers and cider, or wine. Level up your experience with Japanese Sake, and premium soju, or indulge in some top-shelf spirits and delicious Korean-inspired cocktails.


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While Donco will no doubt be missed from Pakington’s Street, Surreal not only fills its gap but takes it one step further for its food, its design, and its individuality.

Find Surreal at 10 Little Ryrie Street, Geelong. Find out more here