This lunch dates back to post-Xmas (I KNOW I KNOW) with mum and dad, Dany, plus Dany’s father Reg and step mum Denise.
Hellenic Republic, one of the George Calombaris stable of restaurants, has been open for several years now in East Brunswick. The restaurant is big and bright with a fairly casual atmosphere, and includes a big open kitchen with a charcoal grill.
The food is modern Greek, with the menu designed for sharing. Banquet menus are available, but as we were only there for lunch and didn’t want to eat too much (considering the indulgence over Xmas) I just ordered a selection of things.
We had two serves of pita bread ($4.50), which was rather amazingly good. The pita had been warmed up on the grill, and was super soft and fluffy. Quite possibly the best pita bread I’ve ever eaten.
To go with the bread, we had a serve of the Tyrokafteri – baked feta, chilli, oregano ($13). A hot salty cheese dip with a touch of spiciness – do I need to say more?
I also ordered the Fava dip ($9.50), which had a nice subtle hint of truffle, and was topped with pickled shallots and capers.
The Tyri Saganaki – Kefalograviera cheese with peppered figs ($14.50) is probably one of the most famous dishes from Hellenic Republic. If you don’t already like saganaki (who are you?) it won’t change your mind, but I really liked the mixture of sweet/savoury and the crispy edges.
When selecting food, sometimes I feel the need to order at least one green dish. Here we have the Horta – pan fried greens, lemon, olive oil ($10). Guess what? Sometimes it’s worth ordering a green dish. It’s one of those simple, but tasty dishes.
I always find it hard to go past slow cooked meats, and the Arni Sto Fourno – slow roasted shoulder of lamb cooked with garlic and oregano ($26.50) was a pretty good version.
We only ordered one grilled dish, which was the Kalamari me Myrothika – grilled calamari with parsley, garlic, and lemon ($22).
Tiganites Patates – potatoes fried in olive oil with oregano ($9). Basically fat chips, nothing more needs to be said.
And the final savoury dish was the Moussaka ($22) – so cheesy and it came out nuclear hot.
After that, we did manage to fit in a couple of sweet things.
Such as a couple of pieces of baklava ($4 each). It was nice but (as always with baklava) too high on the sugar scale for me.
The Loukoumathes ($12.50) – doughnuts drenched in honey with cinnamon and walnuts ($12.50) are definitely more my thing.
This is not something I would normally order, but surprisingly, the Risogalo – rice pudding with salted caramel, shortbread crumble and pistachio ($8) was quite superb. Good flavour and consistency.
I enjoyed our lunch at Hellenic Republic and it was a nice wind down from Xmas. I can see why it’s been around for a while.
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434 Lygon Street
Phone: (03) 9381 1222