The prize for Victoria's busiest hospitality outfit has to go to the Mulberry Group. In the past year, Nathan Toleman and co have sold Higher Ground, opened CBD restaurant Hazel, cafe Liminal, glam bar Dessous and Common Ground (a farm project with onsite cafe). Their latest project is transforming the Eastern Beach restaurant on Geelong's foreshore into Beach House.
Open since January, the heritage 1930s brick building is now radiant in bright whites and light woods, with crisp umbrellas shading the kiosk and deck.
It's quite the holistic operation. Upstairs does double time as a function space and a yoga and meditation studio that offers free classes for staff, while a percentage of the profits fund the Common Ground Project. The farm, in turn, supplies produce to the cafe.
Open daily for breakfast and lunch, chef Ben McMenamin (ex Liar Liar and Supernormal) is doing the fresh beachy food you'd expect of both this cafe group and the sea bath location: acai bowls and a version of the famous fat ricotta hotcake meet a broad range of salads and build-it-yourself breakfasts with plenty of veg alternatives like beetroot fritters.
Besides a cheeseburger, it's a pescatarian time, with the main lunch stars including ceviche, fish finger sambos and chilli mussels.
The outdoor kiosk stays open after 3pm and serves shakes, cheeseburgers (and vegan burgers), fish and chips, chicken gravy rolls and other essentials: local wines, beers and mimosas.
Beach House is open daily 7am-3pm (kiosk until 6pm) at 95 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong, 03 5221 8322, thebeachhousegeelong.com.au.