Sunday, April 18, 2010

No inner demons lurking in Geelong's Mr Hyde

On a Sunday lunch and stroll around Geelong, there is no doubt why they call this Victorian coastal city Sleepy Hollow. The eatery crowned Country Champ in The Age Cheap Eats guide is so quiet at 12.30pm that we laugh at ourselves for making a booking. Perhaps all the locals are still eating breakfast or prefer their own cooking. Oh well, it's their loss. The solitude at Mr Hyde allows us to explore the impressive historic bank building without inhibition.

In contrast to the light and airy feel of the main room, the two side rooms are darker, but more sophisticated than gloomy. A lamp casts a soft, golden light over the dark club lounges in one, and time in this space is sure to result in taking up whiskey and cigars. In the other, purple reigns. A wall of art deco mirrors and replica Philippe Starck Louis Ghost chairs add some design class but this is the less impressive of the rooms. I am enamoured by the huge chandelier and decorative ceiling in the main room. Bro #3 likens the pattern on the cornices to a continuous swastika. I prefer to see a Celtic influence but either way, it's nothing short of dashing and provides a fitting overhead from the grand chesterfield booth we settle into.

As for the food, it is friendlier than the surrounds may suggest. The Turkish pizzas had some stiff competition with recent visits to pizza supremos L'uccellino in Yarraville and Pizza Verde in Kyneton but it held up well. The tiger prawns got me.
Marinated tiger prawns, red pesto, sweet corn, coriander ($16.50).
Screaming Seeds Marrakesh spiced butternut pumpkin, Meredith goat's cheeese, fried sage ($15). Mmm, loving sage right now. I'm pleased as punch to have acquired a sage cutting this weekend from the Jan Juc clan's garden.

L-R: seared Istra chorizo and scallops, shaved fennel, garlic oil ($12.50), fried rough cut sweet potato, cumin salt, lime and dill mayonnaise ($9.50), pan flashed calamari strips, harissa spice, slow roasted garlic ($10.50). 

My pick of the mezze dishes is the scallops with delicious morsels of fennel sliding around them.

Geelong is lucky to have Mr Hyde but even with the accolades it has received, I'm not sure the locals realise what they have, or at least they didn't today. There is nothing like people to create atmosphere, if only there were more of them. Surely, they weren't all at the football?!

Mr Hyde on Urbanspoon

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