Hot pies, cold drinks and… Rendang beef curry with a side of Gai Lan?!

May 6, 2024 BY

Club Chin Chin officially opens this week in time for the Cats' home game.


Unless you’ve been located under a rock these past few months, any local footy and foodie fans can tell you the opening of the Geelong outpost of the cult Melbourne restaurant Chin Chin is now imminent.

Kardinia Park has come a long way in the last decade or two, where available game-day culinary options back then meant hot pies, chips and dim sims, are now being replaced with caramelised pork belly and crispy tofu pad see ew.

Yes, a sign of the times indeed. Next you’ll be telling me the humble footy record is to be replaced by an iPhone app …ohh wait, they already did that!

Anyway, Club Chin Chin officially opens this week in time for the Cats’ home game. And whether you’re buying into the hype or not, it certainly has a few foodie locals talking.

Head to the bar at Maestro for happy hour


I always enjoy eating out around this time of year, as there seems to be fewer crowds and even fewer reasons for not enjoying a mid-week treat out somewhere nice (thank you winter weather).

And for many years, the start of May has historically signalled the restaurant-review season officially open!

Our most respected national good reviewer, The Good Food Guide usually chooses between May-July to cast their final votes.

I’m not saying that those establishments striving for well published praise drop their guard in months early in the year, but this is without doubt when they start to notch it up a gear in case those anonymous media folk wander through with notepads ready.

Actually, it’s probably all done on smartphones or iPads now anyway, but let’s face it: it’d be hard to tell who these reviewers actually are given the amount of time we all spend on our devices out at dinner nowadays…

I know this place has moved and been reopened for a couple of months now, but I got round to trying the Oh Dumpling in its latest form, found now closer to the waterfront along Moorabool Street.

Considering these are hand rolled and house made (and cheap) why wouldn’t you consider this place as a great mid week option? Although the team here are doing delicious things, we need more dumpling places like this about that can equally cater as a tasty midweek take away option, as they can be ideal for a quick post happy hour feed where the hot, salty and/or fried goodness can be fully appreciated in excess.

Which brings me to a question I was asked only a couple of weeks back: what quality happy-hours are still out there? I looked into the subject and road-tested a few, happily to report on the following findings.

The bar at Maestro does a decent spritz and wine offering for the Mon-Friday end-of-day office trade, obviously trying to entice a few to stay for dinner in their swishly fitted out restaurant.

The tried and true Telegraph Hotel do an oyster happy hour every Thursday evening, serving up $1 natural oysters – and I don’t know where they could even buy them this cheap?! – to accompany a range of well good beers and wine on pour at discounted rates.

Oyster quality you might ask? Completely fine. The friend I went with smashed close to two dozen with no complaints. For the cheap and cheerful amongst us, The Elephant and Castle deliver one of the more value conscious offerings around town.

Finally, a huge shout out to a friend and fellow work colleague of mine who has recently taken over the reins at The Newtown Providore.

We worked together when CENTRA opened nearly ten years ago, producing some of the best produce driven, seasonal Italian food on offer to the Geelong market at the time: he was our gun Head Chef and will no doubt start to leave his mark on this already popular river-end café in the months to come.

It’s tough down that neck of the woods though, with so many good coffee and food spots along that end of Pakington Street: the work is cut out for many owners down there daily, but no doubt as newer players come to the precinct, the overall quality is gradually pushed up slowly amongst all operators.

And there’s rumours galore out there on who might be going into the new convention centre on the waterfront and the purpose built hospitality precinct that’s planned to be launched, but let’s touch on these next week when the dust has settled a little.

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