Common Ground Project, Beach House Geelong

Nathan Toleman and Geelong mayor Bruce Harwood outside the heritage-listed Beach House, Geelong.

A new wave of restaurants and cafes is set to hit the Bellarine Peninsula over the coming months.

Fresh from opening the Common Ground Project in Freshwater Creek, 10 minutes’ south of Geelong, Nathan Toleman and the Mulberry Group are working on the revamp of the historic Beach House Geelong, which is back on track to open as a 120-seat cafe and kiosk by the end of the year after resolving heritage issues.

Then there’s Graham Jefferies, the long-time chef and co-owner of Geelong fine diner Tulip, who is opening a side project on the surf coast. When it opens, Samesyn, an Afrikaans word that means connecting over food, will offer “high-end casual dining” driven by seasonality, sustainability and locality. As a nod to Jefferies’ South African roots, there will be a wood-fired element, although championing the surf coast’s produce will be his main concern.

Until he finds a permanent home, Jefferies is trialling the concept at two pop-ups, August 18 and September 8, at Zeallys Bar and Grill in Torquay (bookings: samesyn.com.au).

And Glenn Laurie (ex Heidelberg’s Little Black Pig and Sons) and his partner Laurence Hanser​ are also doing pop-ups on the Bellarine.

As the name implies, Roaming Pig Kitchen Pop-up is not fixed to one venue, but the food is always Italian and always delicious. The next one is on October 26 at Ravens Creek Farm in Moriac. Bookings: email roamingpigkitchen@gmail.com.


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