Chef and restauranteur Adrian Richardson of Channel Ten’s Good Chef Bad Chef, also behind Melbourne spots La Luna and Bouvier and Brisbane’s BOS, has opened another venue, Maestro, in an unexpected location: Holiday Inn and Suites Geelong.
Opened on September 8 on level one of the hotel, Maestro celebrates the region’s finest ingredients through a menu crafted by Richardson and Executive Chef Migo Razon. The menu is a fusion of international flavours and features house-made pasta, Filipino dishes and French-style desserts, made almost entirely from locally sourced ingredients.
Richardson says the decision to be part of the project was easy once he found out Razon was already on board. He also saw it as a great opportunity to bring something he loves — Melbourne’s restaurant scene — to Geelong.
“We’re bringing in professionals you’d find in the best Melbourne restaurants,” Richardson says. “Geelong already has some fantastic dining spots, and it’s clear that people here enjoy eating out. As more venues open, they’ll raise the standards even higher, and that benefits everyone, especially the diners.”
As for how Richardson and Razon curated the menu, Richardson says they started by examining all possible ingredients in terms of seasonality and price. They also used for inspiration the dishes served at Richardson’s other venues, La Luna, Bouvier and BOS. Maestro’s menu is meat-centric, with other options too like fish and pasta.
“Of course, we also have to cater to various dietary needs, including vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options,” says Richardson. “Our menu strives to be as inclusive as possible, and we regularly come up with special dishes to make use of seasonal ingredients.”
Richardson’s favourite dish on the menu is steak, well-cooked, but he’s also a fan of the seafood the restaurant serves, including several dishes featuring mussels from Port Phillip Bay, steamed in white wine and fennel. The mussels, he says, are best enjoyed with lightly grilled bread and pasta, which soaks up all the flavourful juices. His go-to dessert? Crème brûlée flavoured with vanilla.
“Personally, I like to sit where I can see the kitchen — it’s wonderful to watch — but it’s completely up to you,” he says. “Don’t hesitate to chat with the chefs — they love to share all you need to know. Also, save room for dessert. Trust me, it’s well worth it.”
Richardson also says he understands the bad rap hotel restaurants got back in the day because many prioritised convenience over quality, but that times have changed and travellers are now looking for more than just a place to crash — they want an experience and they want quality.
“Today, hotel restaurants like Meastro are all about creating exceptional dining experiences,” says Richardson. “We’ve got top-notch chefs who are passionate about food. We’re here to wow our guests with outstanding cuisine and add to the vibrancy of Geelong’s food scene.”