Sunday, July 19, 2009

LUNCH @ HELLENIC REPUBLIC, 434 LYGON ST., BRUNSWICK, MELBOURNE



Those who have tuned in to MasterChef Australia would have known who George Calombarise is; he's one of the 3 judges, and happens to own a trio of restaurants - Maha, The Press Club, and this one. If you're wondering the type of restaurant this is, have a look at its menu; it's all Greek to me - really!


Behind the unassuming facade of the restaurant lies a great expanse of a communal dining space. Saved for the big table in the fornt alcove and the courtyard seating at the back, the bar/kitchen counter occupies the whole strecth of the 50 feet or so restaurant on one side, while its parallel ¾ of the the space is taken up by seating - tables arranged in rows for nucleus form of dining, where food are encouraged to be passed around and shared.

Manouri (Soft Cheese, Sheep & Goats Milk Whey), Fig & Olive Paste With Oregano

Cured Hellenic Meats

Loukanika - Orange Sausages

Kotopoulo Psistaria - Chicken Spit

Ortiki - Quail

Katsiki Kleftiko - Slow Roasted Goat With Potato And Rosemary

Hirini Kilia Psistaria - Pork Belly Spit With Cabbage Salad

Gemista Manitaria - Stuffed Mushrooms

As usual the doc orders too much food; quail plus the chicken is food overkill. The orange sausages are the weakest link. The presto-like fig and olives combo has a nice savory quality to it, and when coupled with the light goat's cheese, it's divine. The Pork Belly Spit is as good, if not better than the Chinese counterpart; you can eat its crunchy skin on its own like a crackling koropok...

... so remind ourselves that crackling roast pork belly is not just restricted to the purview of the Chinese. The Greeks have a thing or two up their sleeves.

The goat and stuffed mushroom are memorable, in the sense that you get to eat these only a few times in a lifetime. The chicken and quail is not unlike any we have tasted before, maybe with different herbs, that's all.

Moussaka - My Yia Yia's Recipe

Finally a dish that George's proud of to be featured on the menu. He even revealed the 20 secret ingredients used in the making of his mama's Moussaka. on Masterchef Australia It's indeed a great classic! And I say "Yeah, George!"


The thing about the restaurant is that they only allotted us a 1½ hour window of dining experience, and we weren't allowed to be seated when we arrived 15 minutes early, even though there were a lot of vacant tables. Despite this, its food and service are excellent - no doubt about it.

4 comments:

Vrouw said...

Hi

I'm just a reader and it seems you're in Melbourne for a long time? You won't be posting ats from Kuching anymore?

Kong-Kay said...

all in good time.

Kester said...

Hi Kong-Kay, im your religious food blog reader. I was quite surprised to see posts about foods in Melb as I am based in Melb reading Malaysian foodblogs about Melbournian food, how awesome.

Kong-Kay said...

Thanks, Kester; you're the encouragement I need. At the moment I'm on hiatus... still have a few more Melb food spots to post, plus many others (from Bangkok to K.L). Giving my stomach a much needed rest (2 meals a day) before the next food fest starts.

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

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