Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hellenic Republic- East Brunswick

434 Lygon Street, East Brunswick

Feels a little cheesy reviewing a restaurant that has had such overwhelming media attention, but here goes.

As is tradition, I rocked up at Hellenic Republic on Thursday night without a booking. Now I know this is a little risky, but, I attempted to make a booking several weeks ago, and was assured I would get a call back...the phone never rang. I'm not exactly one to sit around twiddling my thumbs, so I took my chances. On this occasion, the risk payed off and we were seated in the lovely court yard.

Next to us was a party of 6, who seemed to have opted for a set menu. While the food looked lovely, there appeared to be a lot left over. Unnecessary waste is a bit of a pet hate of mine, so at $49.50 per head, not including drinks we opted not to go with this option.

At this point, I really must point out just how ridiculously friendly/helpful/professional the wait staff are. At some places, showing up with no booking can almost guarantee you pissy service and a bad table. This is simply not the case at Hellenic Republic.

It was not difficult to decide what we would eat. We had come for the Lamb. I must disclose that I have eaten here before. Just once! And I have been dreaming/raving about this Lamb spit ever since.

You really can't just jump straight into the lamb, you would only be cheating yourself. There are so many other lovely things which can accompany the center piece of the meal.

We began with the Kefalograviera Saganaki with Peppered Figs and the Melitzanoslata (Eggplant Dip with red onion) and Pita. Really, these dishes are not accompaniments, they are little superstars in their own right. The Saganaki is incredible. In most cases, I'm not much of a fan, I find the flavour overpowering and unenjoyable. But at Hellenic, the cheese still has a powerful flavour but balance out by the mellow taste of the fig.

Everything was so fresh. The dips were beautiful and didn't have that came from a tub taste. The pita was soft and maybe even wholemeal?

Then came to lamb, with tzatiki and a village salad. It was everything I remembered and more. Juicy, tender, magic.

While the menu is centred around the seafoods and meats, there are plenty of vegetarian options.

On the whole, everything about the meal was enjoyable. While we may not have gotten as much variety and volume in food as those who go for the set menu, we had more than enough to eat. I literally rolled out of the place.

My only gripe, a little more selection on the wines would be nice. I felt a little limited for choice. What can I say, I like a bottle.

Every aspect of this Calmobaris venture is supurb. From the decor, to the service , to the website. It is easy to see that nothing happens here by chance. I'm not saying that it is impossible to have a less than fab time here, but on this occasion, it was exactly what I was looking for and I offer 18/20.

At $90 for two, including wine, I would say that value for money is pretty dam good.


  1. Wow, 18/20, that is very generous. I have been either very happy or very unimpressed with my visits, like cookedandbottledinbrunswick I guess and agree that the mid afternoon menu is the one for a quiet walk through Lygon Street on a Saturday arvo.


  2. Thanks Jasper, I think it deserved 18/20 on this visit. But can appreciate that different people could have a less impressive experience.I am pretty keen to try the mid arvo menu also!

  3. We went there for our anniversary back in June for Dinner. We booked 6 weeks in advance, thankfully, as the place was rammed.. The food was outstanding, as were both mad for greek food.. We had the $50 banquet, and a bottle of "their" wine (which was not bad at all) $45, as there is no BYO, which is what u would expect, $175 for that was very reasonable.. Oh and a couple of Greek beers, which also were suprsingly good. One thing that grinds my gears about this joint,is the table settings, by this i mean, a 7:00pm bookings, a 8:30pm booking etc etc. We had a 7pm seating, by 8:45pm there was a mob of 35-40 people waiting to be seated, thus creating the feeling that we better move on, whereas, im sure most people would agree, like to relax and enjoy there meal at their own pace, and completely enjoy the experience without the time constraints.. Def going back though, as much as I cant stand Calombaris. Oh, one last thing, as we went to Hellenic during the height of Masterchef, the entire staff were made to wear matching Blue t-shirts saying "George says Yeah". I thought this was most tacky and the sort of thing u would expect at a Western Suburbs Steak house..I asked our lovely waitress how she felt wearing it. Suffice to say, she was pretty pissed about it.

  4. Thanks for the comments Ade. I can't believe that George would make his waitstaff wear shirts like that, so degrading and TACKY!If I worked there, I would consider alternate employment!