35 RE­VIEW

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

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - ME­GAN MILLER RE­VIEWS HEL­LENIC REPUB­LIC 25/27 Church St, Brighton, hel­leni­cre­pub­lic.com.au

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.

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