Geelong cheese train Splatters review

Splatters' central 'train' switches sushi for cheese (and crackers).
Splatters' central 'train' switches sushi for cheese (and crackers). Photo: Jason South

168-170 Pakington St Geelong West, VIC 3218

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Opening hours Wed-Thu 6pm-10pm, Fri 4pm-late, Sat noon-late, Sun 2pm-10pm
Features Bar, Licensed, Accepts bookings, Groups, Outdoor seating, Events
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 0417 546 825

Cheese. Train. I only needed two words to know I would love Splatters, a fun new place in Geelong that's like a sushi train, except with cheese.

The venue is a COVID spillover – owner Jo Bangles parked her cheese truck at festivals until The Great Cancellation, stayed busy with lockdown grazing boxes ("the new flowers") and, overtowered by platters in the van in her driveway, kindled the notion of a conveyor belt restaurant because more ways to celebrate cheese is plainly good.

And good it is. An old chemist shop has been turned into a cheery cheese church. The looped track is built around a central bar where 20 or so different cheese offerings trundle by on price-colour-coded plates. Crackers are free.

Woombye truffle triple cream brie with jaboticaba fruit paste.
Woombye truffle triple cream brie with jaboticaba fruit paste. Photo: Jason South

The train seating works best for singles or duos; there are also tables and the Garden of Edam backyard for groups and special events such as (cheesy) comedy nights.

Every cheese has an accompaniment: a wedge of local Bay of Martyrs blue is paired with pear and cinnamon paste; South Australian Monte Rosso washed rind is matched with wattleseed chocolate from Aboriginal-owned Jala Jala. Tasmanian Pyengana cheddar chats with dill pickle.

As the plates stack up, so does the enjoyment.

Tarago River Shadows of Blue paired with candied pear.
Tarago River Shadows of Blue paired with candied pear. Photo: Jason South

Splatters is inclusive and welcoming. I mean that in a cheese sense: this isn't a hifalutin' fromagerie spilling with expert chat about affinage and lactic acid. The team are cheese lovers more than gruyere geeks.

The inclusion is also in the diversity: Bangles is an LGBTQI+ activist and her team is a rainbow squad.

"I've been out 27 years," she says. "Geelong was not safe when I grew up and I don't want these amazing young people to experience what I experienced."

Cheeses trundle by on colour- and price-coded plates.
Cheeses trundle by on colour- and price-coded plates. Photo: Jason South

Restaurants are never just one thing: Splatter is community, regionality, agency and joy. I love it.

https://www.splatters.online/