Gastrology recently had the pleasure of indulging in a lavish Greek feast at Ionio Greek Charcoal BBQ restaurant in Westfield Doncaster Shoppingtown. The restaurant has recently updated its menu with a focus on hearty authentic Greek dishes with the help of former Masterchef contestant Dani Venn from Eat It Up Creative, food and communications consultancy.
For starters, we enjoyed a variety of housemade dips with pita bread and marinated olives. Taramasalata and other Mediterranean dips such as Hummus and housemade Labne, which is a strained creamy yogurt served with fluffy and soft pita breads - divine. The creamy and thick textured dips were full of flavour and provided a great start to the lunch.
Next up on this decadent Greek Feast were the delectable cheeses. Grilled Dodoni Saganaki and Fried Cheese Balls are always a hit amongst diners and these dishes were no exception. The Saganaki was served simply on a small pan and grilled to make the haloumi cheese golden brown and gooey, just add a squeeze of lemon, the saganaki was a treat to devour. The fried cheese balls had a solid crunch on the outside and on the inside they were soft and full of cheesy goodness.
The highlight of meal for us was the Homestyle Lamb and Beef Moussaka. This generously sized dish is an authentic Greek favourite with a creamy bechamel sauce on top and well seasoned lamb and beef mince inside. The moussaka was seared on top providing a little crunch to provide texture to this delicious dish. Despite not being a big fan of eggplant, we felt that the eggplant in this Moussaka was silky soft and kept on going back for more spoonfuls of this great dish.
The Charcoal Lamb and Chicken Gryos were the main meat dishes that were brought to the dining table. These succulent meats were flavoursome with a slight charcoal taste, served with a bit of lemon to cut through the the gyros, this dish was a hit and an appetizing way to enjoy the delights of simple meat done well. The other main in this feast was a Chargrilled Rainbow Trout wrapped in vine leaves. After cutting through the vine leaves, the tender and juicy flesh of the fish was revealed to the delight of all diners. We could taste the freshness of the fish and enjoyed this tremendously.
To complement the mains, there were a selection of fresh salads to provide a balance to this indulgent feast. The grain salad, greek salad and roasted beetroot salad were all executed very well with fresh ingredients being a key to their success. We thought the best salad was the grain salad with pops of pomegranate, currant and quinoa making the dish an excellent accompaniment to the mains.
To finish off, the Ionio kitchen served up warm Bougasta and a take on a traditional favorite which was a smashed baklava with toasted walnut and honey ice cream. The desserts arrived with sounds of excitement from diners ready to taste these beautiful dishes. The traditional Bougasta was filled with subtle sweet custard which had a good crunch on the exterior, and overall was an impressive dessert. The lovely ice cream and flakes of baklava was a great combination of flavours which provided a sweet ending to the decadent lunch .
Ionio have a great selection of Greek favourites and for a hearty wholesome meal, this is the place to get your Greek on!
Written by Helena Lea.