Hellenic Republic

Hellenic Republic - Kew

Hellenic Republic – Kew

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.

Hellenic Republic - Churros and dip

Hellenic Republic – Churros and dip

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.

Hellenic Republic - Ouzo cured ocean trout

Hellenic Republic – Ouzo cured ocean trout

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.

Hellenic Republic - Smoked bone marrow

Hellenic Republic – Smoked bone marrow

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.

Hellenic Republic - Saganaki w truffle

Hellenic Republic – Saganaki w truffle

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.

Hellenic Republic - Sheftalies

Hellenic Republic – Sheftalies

Sheftalies are like little sausages that were full of spices and meaty flavour served with tahini yoghurt and caper leaves. Tasty.

Hellenic Republic - Seafood kokoretsi

Hellenic Republic – Seafood kokoretsi

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!

Hellenic Republic - Tuna tartare w prawn crackers

Hellenic Republic – Tuna tartare w prawn crackers

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.

Hellenic Republic - Tuna tartare after mixing shot

Hellenic Republic – Tuna tartare after mixing shot

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.

Hellenic Republic - Melitzanosalata - variations of eggplant

Hellenic Republic – Melitzanosalata – variations of eggplant

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.

Hellenic Republic - Duck and quince

Hellenic Republic – Duck and quince

The duck was beautifully pink on inside and brown and caramelised on the outside. It came with a sweet quince sauce. Great combination.

Hellenic Republic - Wagyu tongue skewers

Hellenic Republic – Wagyu tongue skewers

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.

Hellenic Republic - Lahanosalata - cabbage salad

Hellenic Republic – Lahanosalata – cabbage salad

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.

Hellenic Republic - Me and George

Hellenic Republic – Me and George

Selfie with my mate George Calombaris.

Hellenic Republic - The making of the magnamopolous

Hellenic Republic – The making of the magnamopolous

Then onto the sweets. Here are the magnamopolous’ in the making.

Hellenic Republic - Magnamopolous

Hellenic Republic – Magnamopolous

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.

Hellenic Republic - Warm rosewater custard w churros

Hellenic Republic – Warm rosewater custard w churros

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!

Olives x

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Note: Olive Sundays was invited as a guest to Hellenic Republic.



Gazi - Melbourne

Gazi – Melbourne

Gazi is a Greek restauraunt owned by Masterchef’s George Colombaris. It has a modern style menu but incorporates the classics. It has a contemporary spin on traditional Greek food and maintains a home-style feel with the traditional flavours. Tasty indeed.

Gazi - terracotta pot ceiling

Gazi – terracotta pot ceiling

The ceiling is covered in red terracotta pots. It looks really nice and gives that traditional meets contemporary feel, which is also reflected in the style of food.

Gazi - Mati plates

Gazi – Mati plates

They have these really cute evil eye plates.

Gazi - Tzatziki

Gazi – Tzatziki

They had a range of dips, which come with soft and fluffy pita bread. We got the tzatziki, which was absolutely delish.

Gazi - Saganaki w kumquat glyko The saganaki had that crunchy melted cheese on the top and was all soft in the middle. It had a kumquat glyko on top, which was like a sweet zingy sugar syrup which made it even better.

Gazi - Grain saladI adore their grain salad, it has a great texture with all the assorted grains. The pomegranate adds sweetness and the cumin yoghurt livens the dish. Just delicious.

They have a range of souvlakakia, which are small soulakis. The meat is tender and I love that most of them come with chips inside the souva.

Gazi - Falafel souva

Gazi – Falafel souva

We had the falafel one, which is a good veg option, which had falafels, greek yoghurt, chips and parsley. This was a while back, but now I think they have a different veg option, which is a souva with sweet potato keftedes, pumpkin seeds, tahini and pickled onion, which sounds yum too.

Gazi - soft-shell crab souva

Gazi – soft-shell crab souva

I had the soft shell crab souva at the Gazi stall at the taste festival and it was really good. The soft shell crab was nice and crunchy on the outside and perfectly cooked, the honey and mayo added richness and the mint and coriander added a fresh herby kick. It was a real winner.

Gazi - Duck souva

Gazi – Duck souva

The duck souva is fricken amazing! All the souvas are tasty but this one takes the cake. The duck was cooked perfectly and had crispy skin, the poached pears were beautifully sweet and compliment the duck so well. Then there are melty caramalised onions, honey mustard, shoestring fries and parsley. Each bite was heavenly. After I ate it I wanted another. It was my favourite. Yum!

Gazi - Homemade musk sticks

Gazi – Homemade musk sticks

We got the homemade musk sticks. They were hard and tasted just like musk sticks should taste, a nice little sweet.

Gazi - Loukomathes w honey nutella

Gazi – Loukomathes w honey nutella

Loukomathes are sort of like little deep-fried donut balls. They are crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle. These ones were drizzled with honey nutella and topped with crushed hazelnuts. It was a honey sweetness with a hint of choc hazelnut. Very sweet but yum.

Gazi - Creme caramel w kataifi and pistachio

Gazi – Creme caramel w kataifi and pistachio

The crème caramel was thick and smooth and delicious. It had fried kataifi on top and was sprinkled with pistachio. The crunchy kataifi was a nice contemporary twist, which made this dish fun to eat.

Gazi - Bombe metaxa

Gazi – Bombe metaxa

The bombe metaxa was chocolate icecream and tsoureki (that sweet greek easter bread) covered in meringue and set alight (love a bit of theatre). The meringue was like a pavlova, fluffy in the middle, the chocolate icecream was in tact it hadn’t melted and the tsoureki was a nice cakey element.

Gazi is a nice place to get together and share some delicious Greek food. It is traditional food with a contemporary twist. I like that the restaurant has great food and a casual feel.

I heart Gazi!

Olives x

Address: 2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Website: http://www.gazirestaurant.com.au/
Phone: 03 9207 7444
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun: 11.30am til late (everyday)


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Mama Baba

Mama Baba - Gnocchi ossa bucco w ricotta salata.

Mama Baba – Gnocchi ossa bucco w ricotta salata.

Mama Baba is one of the many restaurants opened in Melbourne by the renowned MasterChef judge George Calombaris. He is known for traditional meals with a contemporary twist. Mama Baba is Italian and Greek inspired with a focus on fresh ingredients and humble food. The restaurant has an industrial feel with the high ceilings and simply decorated open space. It has a casual atmosphere and is a great place to catch up with friends for dinner.

Mama Baba in South Yarra.

Mama Baba in South Yarra.

As a starter I ordered the lamb arancini, sitting on spots of black tahini, surrounded by little herbini. (by herbini I mean micro herbs, I just wanted it all to rhyme) It had the warmth of a Sunday lamb roast compacted into a small deep-fried appetizer. The black tahini was delicious and a perfect sauce to accompany the tasty arancini bites.

Mama Baba - Lamb arancini w black tahini.

Mama Baba – Lamb arancini w black tahini.

The pork was cooked to perfection.  It was soft and succulent and the crackle had good crunch. The sweet quince sauce was smeared on the plate in the shape of planetary rings, which made me feel like I was eating a funnily shaped, deliciously tasty mini pork planet with a side of apple and witlof salad. The pork was juicy and full of flavour. Uncomplicated flavours and perfectly cooked meat, humble cooking at its best! My friend ordered the gnocci ossa bucca with ricotta salata, which was also a winner. It was your typical traditional, hearty home cooked meal that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling with each bite. Yum!

Mama Baba - Pork belly w quince sauce & apple and witlof salad.

Mama Baba – Pork belly w quince sauce & apple and witlof salad.

For dessert I ordered the lemon lime bitters pavlova. It was fun. It was basically a sherbet bomb in the form of a dessert. It was a contemporary twist on a traditional classic. It was served with lemon marscapone, lime sherbet and bitters jelly. The lime sherbet was an interesting sensation, each bite tasted like fizzy.

Mama Baba - Lemon lime bitters pavlova.

Mama Baba – Lemon lime bitters pavlova.

You are able to make a booking, which is good, but the bookings are scheduled in two-hour sessions, which is bad if you like to talk. It does give you enough time to comfortably eat your meal without feeling too rushed. The food is served promptly and the staff provides good service. I understand the logic behind two-hour sessions but I do prefer to enjoy my dinner without a time limit. On the plus side, if you’re catching up with friends and want to hang out a little longer after dinner, Chapel st. is just a walk down the road.

Olives x

Mama Baba
Address: 21 Daly St, South Yarra VIC 3141
Website: http://mamababa.com.au
Phone: 03 9207 7421
Trading Hours: Mon-Thu & Sat 6pm-Late, Fri & Sun 12pm-3pm & 5pm-Late

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