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Loam [Geelong]

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Short version: Go there. Now.

Long version: At the end of a dirt road on the Bellarine Peninsula, about fifteen minutes from Geelong, is an olive farm overlooking the wetlands. In that olive farm is a shop, and above the shop is a cafe. That cafe is now Victoria's newest two hat restaurant.

Seasonality is the real deal here - no tomatoes here in spring - but lots of locally gathered leaves, flowers and, interestingly, pollens. Technique is excellent without being overpowering, so there are plenty of molecular techniques but not very dominant. Examples would be a steak tartare with a sous vide egg yolk smeared onto a tile, or some horseradish snow on swimmer crab. Everything was local to Victoria with the exception of a scottish cheddar for the cheese course (more like a course containing cheese)

The menu is a two (presumably lunch only), four or seven course affair (additional courses available). We gannets went for seven courses over 3.5hours. There is no menu, just a list of ingredients for the day, and if you don't like you tell the waiter and presumably the kitchen does something else. There are paired wines available and a good, short wine list.

Definitely deserving of two hat status, the cooking rivals the Royal Mail - I would put their cooking on a par, though Royal Mail is a much more serious restaurant, Loam still feels a bit like a cafe.

I'll be back later this year.

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  1. Thanks for this Mr. G .. I've been really interested hearing an opinion outside of Epicure.

    My major concern is driving back!!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: kersizm

      The restaurant is happy to do half measures of wines, so we had four halfs over the four hours we were there. There is no other realistic way to get there, we tried! The dishes change pretty regularly so the GFG 'dish of the year' ihas changed twice since publication - when we were there, it was pork with a smoked apple puree

      1. re: mr_gimlet

        I think I need a job in Melbourne - this sounds superb.

    2. What a fabulous time to check out chowhound!

      My mother's birthday is on the 10th and her partner was telling me he wanted to take her to this restaurant that his barber told him about as a surprise, but the barber didn't remember what it was called.

      Thanks very much mr gimlet for helping out!

      1. Well, went back again last weekend with mrs_g as an end of year treat. We booked it in before we went on holidays. They remembered me and what I had eaten before, but got one wrong so I had it again - no trauma. Manged to squeeze in eight courses this time and a full wine pairing, mrs_g doesn't like shellfish so got to see a couple more dishes from her.

        I don't want to give too much away but I was blown away by a couple of dishes - my favourite last time, the veal, impressed me again, but this time the fish (a Royal Mail inspired dish) and lamb were stunners. Mrs_G got their award winning dish of pork with cantaloupe and fennel pollen - I got a nice wagyu tartare with squid instead.

        It's cemented itself in my mind as one of the best iinovastive restaurants in Australia. Mrs_g liked the laid back vibe of the place, which is closer to a cafe.

        It sounds like there is now an entrepreneurial B&B owner close by as well....

        1 Reply
        1. re: mr_gimlet

          The B&B sounds good - I had been wondering how to to try Loam as my designated driver is not responding to hints.