Michael Bong didn’t come to Japanese cooking along the obvious route – he’s Korean, for one – but now that he has, he’s certainly making the most of it. Tomodachi Izakaya & Bar on Little Malop Street in the centre of Geelong is a tribute to the corner bars of Tokyo, with a focus on the charcoal grill and the skewered mates that come off it. That results in top-notch pork belly, beef and chicken thighs for the meat-eaters and salmon, prawns and scallops for the fish fans as well as beancurd and vegetables for the vegetarians. Aside from the grill, there is also an astounding array of sushi and sashimi dishes, octopus pancake balls, salt and pepper squid, alongside dessert options and a long cocktail menu that befits all the best, boozy backstreet izakaya joints in Japan. Take trip into Geelong town centre for a Japanese meal to remember at Tomodachi on Little Malop Street – just remember to book your table before you arrive, as they do get crowded.
Great food, great atmosphere and great staff, had an amazing night. 😊
Great staff, excellent food and nice atmosphere. We had a fantastic experience, and would definitely recommend to anyone who likes Japanese food. The location was really convenient.
First time I’d tried Japanese and I will definitely be going back. This was the best food I’ve ever had! Highly recommend! Staff were very helpful.
Was a great little restaurant, had great food and service!
The food was very good but didn't measure up to the enticing photos on the website (or was it Tripadvisor?). The Kingfish Sashima was excellent and beautifully presented but was the only raw fish available at 8pm on Saturday night. The Unagi was very flavoursome and good value for money - although bordering on the soft side The stools are most uncomfortable. Service was good and friendly but all our 6 dishes arrived at the same time - in spite of asking for them to be brought out gradually. We were a table for 2 but were seated next to a table of 10 women - in this tiny space it made conversation very difficult. We were in and out in an hour and didn't feel inclined to linger because of the noise and the uncomfortable stools. However we will return for the flavours - but perhaps at lunch or a mid-week night - and we might bring cushions!
I was very disappointed with my visit and will not return. We sat down and ordered 7 dishes and a couple of drinks, and after the drinks arrived, the waitress informed us that there was no rice. Although we found this odd as it was 8.30pm on a Saturday we would expect a Japanese restaurant to have its staple food, we let it pass. Subsequently, the waitress came again and told us there was no beef and a little later she told us there were only 3 slices of salmon sashimi left (we ordered 10). Since we had already sat down and had drinks and waited for our food, we stayed anyway. As soon as we finished our food, we paid our $90 bill (for 2 pax) and left disgruntled and walked across the street to have more food at another restaurant because we were still hungry.
Venue is quite cosy, so be sure to make a booking. Staff are very friendly. Food was absolutely delicious. I had gyozas for entree, the softshell crab for my main and shared a matcha ice-cream for dessert. I also had a cocktail (which are a must try!). Altogether it cost me $45, not bad at all! As i was leaving i was already trying to plan when to go back!
My wife is Japanese and I have been to Japan many times, Tomodachi is by far the most authentic Japanese restaurant in the Geelong and surrounding areas. With a Korean owner and Japanese chef, the set up is small but intimate with excellent customer service. Slightly more expensive than other outlets in the area but a really good experience, we will be back !!
Must have caught them on an off day because i've heard nothing but great things about the place. Service was average with no drink refills offered - our empty drinks sat on the table for the remainder of our meal. But empty plates were cleared quickly. Pork belly was chewy and dry and not as moist and delicious as it could have been. The flavours in everything were good though standouts were the yakitori, karage chicken and scallops. Overall though I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. But I might give it the benefit of the doubt and head back another time.
Food was fantastic. And the waitress recommendations were on point for what we were after. Cocktails were strong but tasty and presented beautifully. Food is a very high quality and standard which may not be expected from the quaint little shop set up.