GREEK DOWN UNDER
By Rhiannon Taylor, July 2017
Our visit to Greece last year left us with lasting memories. Clear Mediterranean water, long sun-filled days and food bursting with flavour made it the ultimate vacation destination. Fresh pressed olive oil (straight from vendor's backyard) sits on tables that dot the coastline and our go-to order consisted of gyros, chips and a fresh salad. So, can one live those memories again down under? We checked out whats happening in the Greek food scene in Sydney and Melbourne.
1821 - 122 PITT STREET, SYDNEY
1821 has successfully put fine Greek dining on the map. The large dining room is light filled and the atmosphere lends itself to a great work lunch or celebratory dinner. You wont find Tzatziki here, but rather white bean dip with soft Greek pita. Lamb is juicy and comes slow roasted and a serve of chips is laden with feta. Save room for dessert, the parfait take on baklava is delicious and the serving size is generous.
VIBE: Corporate, events, functions, work lunches.
SERVICE: Friendly but can be slow during peak times.
MUST TRY: The Aphrodite Bellini.
THE APOLLO - 44 Macleay Street, Potts Point
This marble-clad restaurant is incredibly beautiful and is always buzzing. The Apollo has a tight, modern menu that highlights classic flavours with a twist. Saganaki is delightful with honey and oregano and the BBQ chicken is succulent with the perfect amount of charcoal. The cocktail menu is short, but the Santorini Slip is a winner with gin and lemon.
VIBE: Fun and flirty.
SERVICE: Cool but efficient.
MUST TRY: The Loukoumades.
ZEUS STREET GREEK - Various locations around Australia
Just add lane way seating and paper tablecloths and you'd be on the streets of Athens when you walk in to a Zeus Street Greek. Ok, maybe the wagyu beef pita wrap on the menu will quickly bring you back to hipster reality but if you're after a gyros to hit the spot Zeus does a decent one. The Uncle "Tzimmy" Lamb is a winner with yogurt, chips and slow cooked lamb in a fluffy pita.
SERVICE: Fun and quick.
MUST TRY: Uncle Tzimmy Lamb.
JIMMY GRANTS - Various locations around Melbourne
It's a takeaway institution that's always packed. Jimmy Grants has a simple menu and whilst the gyros are small, they're pretty close to authentic. Lamb with chips and mustard is a crowd favourite and it's worth ordering a mythos lager to wash it all down.
VIBE: Takeaway / quick eat in.
MUST TRY: Mr Papadopoulos.
HELLENIC REPUBLIC - VARIOUS LOCATIONS AROUND MELBOURNE
Hellenic Republic has a menu that focuses on sharing and executes that concept really well. Bordering on fine dining, but without the fuss, dishes such as Moussaka and Spanakopita come out fresh and full of Greek flavours such as fresh olives and oregano. If you're with a group, opt for their sharing menu which is akin to a Greek feast and is reasonably priced.
SERVICE: Warm, attentive and prompt.
MUST TRY: The Grain Salad.