Hellenic Republic in Kew held an event where a range of chefs from the Hellenic family collaborated to create a delicious and inspiring four-course banquet. The chefs involved were George Calombaris, David Tsirekas, Travis McAuley, Arron Lynch and Alex Xinis. The group of chefs cooked and presented the food in the spotlight in front of the diners. Like artists at work, they created our meals with precision and passion. It was great to watch them in action. The dishes were creative and contemporary but maintained authentic Greek flavours.
First up we had a lovely plate of olives. Yum. Then we had savoury Tarama churros w latholemono dip. It was a creamy herb dip with a good amount of zingy lemon, which balanced out the oil in the deep fried churros. Churros with dip is one hell of an idea! Loved it.
The Ouzo cured ocean trout was lovely. Thick pieces of ocean trout topped with black sesame seeds, pickled cucumber and some crispy fried Jerusalem artichoke chips.
The smoked bone marrow was incredible. We saw George carefully placing bits and pieces on the dish with his little tweezers, making it all pretty. And it was spectacular. Who knew bone marrow could look so pretty. It was gorgeous and tasted even better. The flavour combination was quite complex. It was moreish with the creaminess of the bone marrow, it had a sweetness from the beetroot, salty feta and a punch of horseradish. It was incredible. It was served with little round treacle bread rolls.
The saganaki was amazing. We had to take photos quickly because you’ve gotta eat saganaki while it’s hot. The beautiful Kefalograviera cheese was sprinkled with truffle and topped with a big round parmesan crisp. It was delish.
Sheftalies are like little sausages that were full of spices and meaty flavour served with tahini yoghurt and caper leaves. Tasty.
The seafood kokoretsi was delicious. It was a combination of seafood rolled into a log and covered in kataifi (wispy strands of pastry). There were big pieces of seafood like whole prawns and chunks of haku fish in the centre. The seafood was soft and creamy and delicious and then there was the crispy kataifi around the outside. So good! It was accompanied by skordalia, which was a thick creamy garlic sauce, which had a whopping amount of garlic that went perfectly. Delish!
The tartare of tuna was really fun, not to mention delicious. All the elements of the tartare were presented in a bowl individually just waiting to be mixed. Accompanied by a bag of prawn crackers.
You get to mix it all together yourself and then pop it on a prawn cracker. The tartare had a lovely balance with the oily tuna, the acidy pickles, the creamy mayo. It was just delicious. The prawn cracker was a great way to eat the tartare and it complimented the flavours in the tartare and added a crunchy texture. It was a cracker of a dish! Loved it.
The Melitzanosalata (eggplant salad) was variations of eggplant. There was thin strips of baked eggplant, bits of pickled eggplant, deep-fried eggplant chips and eggplant dip. It was an eggplant lovers dream come true.
The duck was beautifully pink on inside and brown and caramelised on the outside. It came with a sweet quince sauce. Great combination.
I was hesitant at first when I saw the wagyu tongue skewers. I hadn’t tried tongue before, but my fears quickly diminished after tasting it. It was surprisingly delicious. The skewers were a combination of wagyu beef and tongue. The meat was flavourful with spices and lemon then cooked on a flat iron grill. The tongue was so soft and delicate, not tough and fibrous as I had imagined. It was a very good first encounter.
The Lahanosalata was a modern looking cabbage salad, the colours looked fantastic. It had different types of fresh cabbage, warm cooked brussel sprouts and a creamy spice dressing. A lovely winter salad.
Selfie with my mate George Calombaris.
Then onto the sweets. Here are the magnamopolous’ in the making.
The magnamopolous is like a Greek version of a Magnum icecream. Love the name, so funny. The centre was a Greek yoghurt ice-cream which was icey but creamy at the same time and had the sourness of the yoghurt. Yum. The thin chocolate shell had a rich chocolate flavour and had a fragrant caramel poured over the top. There were spots of fig puree, which was quite bitter and dehydrated orange and raspberry bits, which added texture.
The warm rose water custard was lovely it was eggy (in a good way) and not too sweet. The touloumba (little chubby churros) were sitting in the custard, soaked up the custard, and were getting covered in the custard, you get the idea. And there were scattered honey walnuts in there which added crunch. Delightful.
It was a lovely experience to watch a bunch of talented chefs doing what they do best. The food was contemporary and innovative. The menu was modern style Greek food with traditional home-cooked flavours at heart.
I heart Hellenic Republic!
Note: Olive Sundays was invited as a guest to Hellenic Republic.