Aaron and Astrid Turner at their Drysdale restaurant.
Aaron and Astrid Turner at their Drysdale restaurant. Photo: Eddie Jim EJZ

One of country Victoria’s most innovative and respected restaurants, the Bellarine Peninsula’s two-hatted Loam, is to close. The restaurant’s landlord, Marcus Oldham College, has announced it is advertising the restaurant’s lease, which ends on June 30.

A college spokesman said Loam was offered another three-year lease but the owners, chef Aaron Turner and his wife, restaurant manager, Astrid, chose not to renew it. “It’s time to explore other options,” Aaron said. Last summer customers found Loam closed, unexpectedly, for several weeks during peak holiday season. At the time, the Turners cited “difficult family matters they preferred remain private,” adding then they had considered closing Loam as a result, but had decided to continue.

Owner-chef Aaron Turner has just released this statement: "After four phenomenal years we’ve decided to close the doors, catch our breath, seek out new inspirations and prepare for new challenges. We cannot truly begin to convey our gratitude for the invaluable support we have received from our guests, esteemed colleagues, generous reviewers, passionate producers and winemakers. You are all responsible for some of the most edifying, inspirational and rewarding years of our careers and indeed, our lives. Your encouragement, respect and faith in us has been truly humbling. Thank you for making the journey to find us and allowing us to welcome you in to the little restaurant we’ve called home."

Prawn and rhubarb granita, a good example of Loam's innovative approach to food.
Prawn and rhubarb granita, a good example of Loam's innovative approach to food. Photo: Eddie Jim

Awarded regional restaurant of the year in the 2012 Age Good Food Guide, Loam was part of an elite group—Victoria’s six two-hatted regional restaurants. Aaron Turner opened the restaurant after working overseas with the current #1 and #2 from the World’s 50 Best list, Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca, and Denmark’s Noma. Loam sits on the Prudence Myer campus of Marcus Oldham College – a property gifted to the college by the Myer family - which will continue to operate as Lighthouse Olive Grove.   

-Hilary McNevin