Who: There There – Eating Room and Bar
Address: 8 Malop Street Geelong
Geelong and its environs is fast gaining a reputation as a food lover’s paradise! With its coffee revolution in full swing, an ever-growing café scene, award winning wineries and restaurants that are bringing our Melbourne neighbours down the highway, it’s little wonder this small part of the world is making such big headlines across the state!
Oh! Hello Geelong, with our healthy appetite for good food and drink, thought it time to start road-testing and showcasing some of the special places that are really whetting people’s appetite! The problem for us however, is that sometimes we find it hard to tell the difference between a fig and a pear, a shiraz and a pinot noir…and what do they actually mean when a chip is thrice cooked?
So, to help us with our foodie adventures we’ve recruited one of our good friends, Anna Spurling of La Madre Bakery, to help us make sense of it all and navigate our way through some of the town and region’s best food and drink – so much fun! To kick things off, Anna has recently taken some time out from the bakery and enjoyed a delicious dinner in one of our favourite G-town restaurants and watering holes, There There! Bon Appetite!
If you haven’t been here here then you are missing out out.
There There Eating Room & Bar is hip, happening and very cool but without the pretension. Housed in an old bank it comes replete with extremely high ceilings and red arched doorways. Pastel canvases adorn the walls in this light, bright and noisy space and an imposing Stag head in a nod to quirky sits underneath the expansive bar that travels along an entire wall.
On the bar, next to the La Marzocco, syphon, a skull and some apothecary bottles are cookbooks by a culinary elite. Think Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Kellery and David Chang., which goes a long way to explain the ambition of the gorgeous food. A gramophone is plonked up one end of the dark paneled bar with metal stools and screw up seats. Coffee Cartel and Bonsoy indicate that for the serious coffee drinker, you will be well looked after.
The cellar is housed behind a black door with a red frame like an Alice route to wine Wonderland. We supped on Dal Zotto Arneis that was scarily drinkable despite there being so much else on the drinks list that tickled our fancy. Take for instance the craft beer menu with some intriguing bottles including a 750ml Sorachi Ace Saison for a cool $30 or the Bridge Rd Aurora for $25. The cocktails took our attention with a Southside hitting the table – a gorgeously simple combination of Westwinds Gin, Lime and Mint – alongside a Strawberry Caprioska with the deadly 666 Vodka (get it?) and Lime. There were also many Espresso Martinis making their way to tables.
There There’s menu is a graphic display of artwork which lends itself to shared plates. You can of course try for a traditional a la carte style with more substantial mains but in a bustling place like this the whole shared thang works so well. We turned up in the middle of one of those heat waves we’ve been experiencing this summer and there was only one way to describe my mood. Hangry. Yes, hungry and angry! But a few minutes inside the cool interior of There There all was right with the world again.
Our group of four decided on several, read many, plates including the spiked snapper ceviche (highly recommend); pulled pork lettuce cups (most excellent); calamari, chorizo + paprika (who doesn’t love this combination); Lonsdale tomato, buffalo mozzarella + basil (ultimate summer salad); avocado, pink grapefruit+ fennel (in a cute glass dish with a lid); There There chips that are triple cooked with gravy in a science beaker and brie (these must be the most popular item on the menu and perfect fodder for one of those craft beers); oysters (of course) and Drysdale haloumi + lemon (because we love cheese). Everything was great! So great in fact that we went back for more of those triple cooked chips and snapper ceviche.
After dinner we just sat, chatted and people watched all the while enjoying the respite from the heat outside. Lo and behold, the Oh Hello Geelong gals graced us with their presence at the bar with margaritas in hand but we always knew they had good taste. And because you can’t review any food place without eating nearly the entire menu, we took on a giant salted caramel macaron and the vanilla panna cotta. Despite not really being a dessert person (yes, a food blogger and bakery co-owner, go figure), both of these were exactly the kind of sweet treat I would eat. Salted caramel is my sugary Achilles heel. Once it was teamed with caramelised banana and peanut ice-cream I was weak at the knees. Its presentation upon an oversized crystal cake stand shows that the There There team is proud of this creation too.
All in all, There There is a great experience. Friendly service, lovely food, cool tunes and an interesting décor all make for a fun night. G-Towners should be proud to call this their local knowing that the bar is being raised in this town’s ever-changing culinary landscape. Embrace the quirky menu, sharing plates and noisy room for you’ll have great food and lo and behold, a whole lot of fun!
– Anna Spurling
Thanks SO much Anna!
Love Laura + Penny
Ps. Big thanks to the talented local lass, Molly Cusack for supplying a few of the photographs!