It’s fourth time lucky for the Greek tavern chain owned by TV chef George Calombaris, now in bayside Brighton with seafood, signature plates and a side of nostalgia
Healthy Hellenic Republic, Brighton.
MANY a Brighton local enjoying the latest Hellenic Republic instalment by George Calombaris can be seen leaning back with a wistful gaze. In the late ’80s and ’90s, as Jake’s nightclub, it was the site of many a misspent youth. Now that eating’s no longer cheating, people are bringing their families to the same spot to feast on Hellenic’s hero plates.
Of course, there’s the ever-popular pomegranate-pretty Cypriot grain salad, the molten saganaki cheese with peppered figs, and the Nigella Lawsonendorsed chips with feta and oregano.
But the Church Street taverna – which opened just before Christmas following Hellenic’s success in Kew, Brunswick East and Williamstown – is a high tide of seafood, more so than its counterparts, as supported by its ropey, nautical fit-out.
A display of fresh fish allows diners to view the day’s catch, name their cooking method – barbecued, baked, pan-fried and steamed – and pay by weight. Brighton also offers a $25 weekday lunch based on the Mediterranean diet of a 4:1 ratio of plant-based foods to meat.
But bypassing the lamb shoulder is a mistake: a half-kilo of tender meat treated with care. It’s made for ordering with a head of cauliflower, gloriously blistered on the spit, and battered and lightly fried zucchini slices.
Later, the baklava – its three layers assembled at your table and anointed with syrup – is a theatrical sweet treat of hot/cold/crunch, although a generous serve of doughnuts would have sufficed.
The staff are casual, keen and ready to tend at this boisterous 120-seater primed for group dining. It trades on 70 per cent bookings and the rest walkins for when those dancing feet lead the way for some nosh with nostalgia.
FROM TOP Unmissable slow-roasted lamb at Hellenic Republic, and the nautical-butnice interiors at the new Brighton taverna.