The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Yummy traditional Greek @ Hellenic Republic (Brunswick), Melbourne

When we were in Melbourne a few weeks ago for my sister's wedding, we met up with my father-in-law and wife who flew down from Brisbane to see our family and meet the newest addition. My step-mother-in-law is Greek, and it was at their Greek wedding five years ago where I learned a lot about Greek cuisine and culture. Hellenic Republic was actually on my to-eat list when we were in Melbourne two years ago, but we had too little time to go through all on my list, so I was quite pleased when it was suggested we meet up for dinner at Hellenic Republic. This restaurant was opened by the highly acclaimed celebrity chef George Calombaris, who also opened the fabulous St. Katherine's and five other restaurants in Melbourne and one in Greece. Greek cuisine is not common in Hong Kong, and it had been ages since I last ate Greek food, so I looked forward to this meal with great anticipation.

Open kitchen at one end...

...and a bar at the other end:

The restaurant had a warm and cosy atmosphere, perfect for large family gatherings like ours. Service was friendly and informative, and it was easy to order food for our 5-year-old boy with multiple food allergies. His most severe reactions had been with Middle Eastern food, so we were a little nervous, but it turned out that we had nothing to worry. There are two seatings for dinner booking: 5:30pm and 7:30pm, and we could only get the earlier time slot for that Saturday. The place was full and bustling when our family arrived a little late at 6pm, and the others had already started on some pita and dips, but they were happy to re-order second servings of the same upon our arrival. We enjoyed everything from the start to finish.

Delicious local and Hellenic olives (AU$6.50):

Tyrokafteri (roasted peppers, feta, yoghurt dip, AU$10) - great flavour and perfect with toasted pita bread:

Taramosalata (white cod roe dip, AU$10). I liked this one, but hubby was not too keen on this. Smooth texture and richly flavoured:

Tyri Saganaki (Kefalograviera cheese with peppered figs, AU$14.50). This one was a nice treat. I'm not usually a fan of sheep/goat cheeses, but this one was mildly flavoured, and the peppered figs were delicious! A lovely combination of sweet, salty and spicy, and I enjoyed the chewy toasted cheese and the crunchy fig seeds:

Kipriaki Salata Dimitriakon (Cypriot salad of grains, pulses, nuts, yoghurt, AU$12). I love crunchy salads like this that are both nutty and sweet, very satisfying mouthfeel. Apologies for the blurry picture - was in a hurry to take the photo (one-handed while nursing the baby) so that the others could dig into it:

Htenia (Harvey Bay scallop, skordalia crust, AU$6 per piece) - sweet juicy scallops, done just right (and not overcooked) with a lovely crunchy topping:

Mary's Moussaka (AU$20). A hearty dish on its own, and perfect for sharing the cheesy eggplant goodness:

Horiatiki Salata (traditional village salad, AU$11.50). Aka Greek salad. A simple bowl of fresh produce and feta cheese:

Kotopoulo Psistaria (chicken from the spit, AU$25 for 350g). Yum with charry flavours from the spit:

Arni Sto Fourno (slow roasted shoulder of lamb, garlic, oregano, AU$29 for 350g) - very tender and flavourful:

Loukaniko (smoked pork and leek sausage, house made mustard, AU$10). The boy loved this sausage, and finished one whole serving on his own:

Loukoumathes (Hellenic doughnuts, honey, cinnamon, walnuts, AU$10). Honey, cinnamon and walnuts are a winning combination in a dessert:

Risogalo (rice pudding, salted caramel, shortbread crumble, pistachio, AU$8). This was nice as far as rice puddings are concerned:

Baklava Yianniotiko (baklava from Yiannena, AU$3.50) - baklavas are always too sweet for me, but this was pretty good for a baklava:

We had an enjoyable experience at Hellenic Republic

Hellenic Republic (Brunswick)
434 Lygon St
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
Tel. +61 3 9381 1222

Hellenic Republic Brunswick on Urbanspoon

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