GREEK FOOD GODS

GQ (Australia) - - TASTE & TRAVEL -

Mediter­ranean is mak­ing its mark (again) on our shores. A wave of Mid­dle-east­ern eater­ies (Mank­oushe, Pazaar Food Col­lec­tive) fol­lowed by a swag­ger of Turk­ish (Stan­buli and Ana­son) con­spired to change peo­ple’s thoughts on the hum­ble ke­bab. Now, the Greeks want a piece of the spanako­pita. First to raise the stakes were Sydney’s The Apollo – led by Jonathan Barthelmess – and Mel­bourne’s The Press Club. Now, as souva hotspots like Jimmy Grants and Zeus Street Greek also take hold, con­tem­po­rary spins are emerg­ing to smash the plates of per­cep­tion. Masterchef’s Ge­orge Calom­baris plans to open a Greek diner in Sydney’s Surry Hills this year, but while we wait, David Tsirekas, for­merly of Perama, is lead­ing the new pack with 1821. For Tsirekas, it’s about time things evolved be­yond the ru­ral tav­erna. “My par­ents came out in the ’50s and that whole gen­er­a­tion brought a level of ex­per­tise ts, but Greek re­ally hasn’t grown en masse in Aus­tralia since,” says Tsirekas. “Now the next gen­er­a­tion, in­spired by the mod­ern era, is in­cor­po­rat­ing to­day’s ideas with mem­o­ries of back then.” 1821 – the year the Greek War of In­de­pen­dence was de­clared – sits among the hus­tle and bus­tle of Sydney’s Pitt Street. It’s a strong sign of the rev­o­lu­tion Down Un­der – where menu go-tos in­clude char­grilled oc­to­pus, lob­ster tossed with pasta, seafood soup with scampi and clams, and lamb cooked over fire. “It’s the No­mad, Ester or China Lane of Greek. Con­tem­po­rary, sexy, funky, mod­ern but when you sit down, eat­ing it sets off mem­o­ries of the tra­di­tional… with­out los­ing the soul of the old tav­er­nas and what it means to break bread Greek style.”

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