We built this city on… STEAK
I’m sorry to vegans, vegetarian, pescatarians and lacto/ovo/lacto-ovos out there (don’t ask – it’s a thing, though) but Geelong’s love of steak is here to stay.
That’s comfortably been confirmed by the endless list of new and decades-old meat-focused venues this town has on hand and in the pipeline.
I asked a few industry friends their favourite places to enjoy some juicy cow (and their favourite cut) and here were their responses:
One of our top local chefs suggested Emerge was still at the top of its game. Their prices vary from the uber-expensive cuts ($192 for a 40-day dry aged wagyu, anyone?) to more digestible options ($48 for a brilliant 300g grass fed Angus porterhouse).
With more than a dozen breed/cut options in total, this could very well be our largest local steak offering under one roof.
Another Geelong chef mentioned a meal had recently at Maestro, where she’d shared a monster 1.2kg tomahawk.
Clearly the bone component comes in here with the weight, but still that’s a lot of meat! Hence the sharing bit, I guess. After your steak arrives, the waitstaff offer a choice of condiments tableside (a la Rockpool in Melbourne) which might include house made chimichurri, mustards or fresh horseradish.
Finally, a seasoned Geelong hospitality veteran threw in the old faithful Empire Grill, noting their eye fillet to be among the best they’d tried in recent months – though at $60 a pop, you’d want it to be spot on.
Everyone likes a cheap steak night at the local, right? Well, the days of $20 steak/chips/pot special are gone, I’m afraid, with the cost of beef now pushing many pub offering closer to $30, or above.
The tastiest we could find (and that our wallets agreed with) was surprisingly at the Geelong Hotel, where a decent sized scotch fillet was on the menu (Thursdays, $25) with a choice of accompaniments to sit beside.
It’s been whispered that there may been be a new space at the Sawyer’s Arms opening in the new year, with a sole focus on – you guessed it – steak. Apparently there’ll be a French leaning here though, which could be mean anything from steak au poivre, to chateaubriand.
Yeah, Geelong sure loves its meat!
Revealed last week were the results of our annual Geelong Wine Show, which celebrated 24 years of judging many of our most celebrated local wineries.
It’s an important yearly event for many of our region’s wineries, although a few of our notable, and best, producers don’t bother entering (eg By Farr, Bannockburn Vineyards etc) likely due to the scepticism sometimes associated around the importance of what shows like these hold in the eye of the consumer.
And you can’t really blame them, as they sell out production year-on-year anyway. Raise a glass to Oakdene Wines, who not only took out the four of the nine top categories, but also were awarded Wine of Show for their 2022 Liz’s Chardonnay: a lovely medium-bodied white with texture, freshness and the right balance of citrusy-fruit/savoury oak characters.
I’m grateful for the courage of the good new folk at the Batesford Hotel, who after a few months of uncertainty and interest, have taken the reins of this (slightly) hidden gem.
This gorgeous little pub has been through multiple ownership changes the past few years and it seems to have finally found those who plan to see it reach its full potential as a much-loved local.
The creekside beer garden has undergone a fresh makeover, with ample seating for larger groups and families looking to soak up this welcomed warmer weather on the weekends. The addition of afternoon live music (with local legends like Cam Henderson on the tunes) makes this a destination worth visiting on your next sunny afternoon out.
Opening for Friday nights as of this week is a little treat for the residents of Geelong West and the surrounds, with Pakington Street neighbours Poco Café and Tulip restaurant launching their version of summer suburban happy hour.
The joint effort creates a Euro aperitivo evening vibe, with the former suppling cocktails and Mediterranean snacks, while the later freshly shucking $3.50 oysters and shaking $12 negronis.
No need to book, it’s all walk-ins only, although limited seating might mean you should settle in early.
You’ll know where to find me Fridays between 4-6pm, though don’t judge on the amount of oysters (or negronis).