Jimmy Grants Richmond

Jimmy Grants, George Calombaris’s modern interpretation of an Athenian souvlaki bar opened it's Richmond installation over the weekend.
We particularly loved the new Duck Souvlaki on offer. Crispy duck, apple, tzatziki, chips and parsley are encased within Jimmy Grant's fluffy signature pita. Yum!
For dessert, there is the Baklava soft-serve ice-cream to ensure you finish your meal off on a delectably sweet note.
This fourth addition to the Jimmy Grants empire is a winner. Expect all the things you  know and love about Jimmy Grants within a modern spacious fit out. It’s simple, no fuss and big on flavour. 

Location: 427-429 Church Street, Richmond
Phone: 8419 8808
Cuisine: Greek

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Jimmy Grants.


It is easy to understand why Salona has become a home away from home for many of their regular patrons.

The restaurant showcases regional specialities from across the Hellenic Republic. Every year they send one of the Salona team to Greece on a mission to find healthy traditional classics. These recipes are brought home and delivered at the restaurant, with a Salona twist.

Salona is dedicated to using only the freshest local produce available and organic where possible, sourcing local and organic produce with a high emphasis on quality. 

We opted for the degustation and left our courses in the hands of the capable chefs, allowing us to sample a vast range of dishes which, on our visit, included a selection of small tastes, meze plates, mains and dessert.
House made dips with warm pita

Our feast began with pita bread served with three beautiful dips. These well formulated dips comprised a range of bold and vibrant flavour combinations to whet our appetites.
Greek cheese and herb croquettas

The croquettas were wonderfully crisp, the filling of oozy cheese and herbs was flavoursome and perfectly seasoned.
King prawns saganaki, tomato, leek and kefalograviera; Organic chicken Kleftiko served in a baking paper parcel

The King prawns saganaki was a standout. The marriage of salty kefalograviera - a robust sheep milk cheese originating from Greece - with beautifully fresh king prawns and sweet tomato and leeks was an unbeatable combination. With the added textural kick from the chewiness of the cheese, this dish was highly addictive.

The Organic chicken kleftiko served in a baking paper parcel was absolutely tender and bursting with flavour courtesy of being cooked to perfection. The baking paper sealed all of the natural flavours and juices inside resulting in exquisitely delicate, moist chicken.
Angus beef rib Kokinisto served on pea and herb skordalia

The Angus beef rib continued the trend of stunning dishes that preceded it. It was a memorable dish combining flawless texture with equally superlative flavours and was particularly noteworthy for its fragrant and complex beefy flavours and slight smokiness.
Baklava filo cigar, hazelnut, pistachio

Our evening concluded on a sweet end with a beautifully made Baklava filo cigar. Baked to perfection, the filo pastry possessed a nice crisp bite. Although it is very easy to over sweeten baklava pastries, it seems that Salona have found the perfect balance. We loved the mixture of crushed nuts and syrup, which is tightly wrapped in layers of crunchy filo pastry to form a cylindrical tube. Truly divine.
Salona presents diners with an abundance of Greek cuisine that exudes passion and humility with affable staff patrolling the bustling dining room masterfully to create a warm and convivial atmosphere.    

Location: 260 Swan Street, Richmond
Phone: 03 9429 1460
Link: http://www.salona.com.au/
Cuisine: Greek

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Salona.

Exploring the Greek Cuisine with George Calombaris + David Tsirekas

The bustling Hellenic Republic forms part of The Press Club Group, a burgeoning conglomerate of restaurants. Apart from the association with celebrity chef George Calombaris, these restaurants, have at least one other feature in common – their almighty banquets which give diners the opportunity to indulge in mammoth quantities of delicious food. 
Gastrology recently joined David Tsirekas and George Calombaris at Hellenic Republic where the pair took guests on a journey exploring Greek Cuisine.
The Greek inspired dinner featured Travis McAuley and Hellenic’s two head chef’s, Alex Xinis and Arron Lynch alongside David Tsirekas and George Calombaris. The result (as expected) was a mouth-watering banquet gastronomical proportions.
Tarama churros, lathalemono - David Tsirekas

The Tarama churros were addictively good. The rigid-edged doughnuts had a nice outer crunch and were appreciatively not drenched in oil. 
Ouzo cured ocean trout, Jerusalem artichoke, Cucumber - Aaron Lynch

The cured salmon which was wonderfully complemented Jerusalem artichoke was a vibrant dish which showcased fresh flavours that were light and appetising. 
Smoked bone marrow, beetroot, feta, horseradish - George Calombaris

The Smoked bone marrow was a well formulated dish of bold and vibrant flavour combinations showcased the culinary potential of Greek cuisine. The luscious bone marrow paired exceptionally well with the creamy feta and slightly tart beetroot and earthy horseradish to produce perfectly balanced flavours. 
Kefalograviera saganaki - Alex Xinis

One of Hellenic Republic’s signature dishes and understandably so. The marriage of salty pan-seared Kefalograviera - a robust sheep milk cheese originating from Greece - with sweet caramelised figs was an unbeatable combination. With the added textural kick from the chewiness of the cheese, this dish was a highly addictive appetiser.
Sheftalies, tahini, yoghurt, caper leaves - Travis McAuley

The Sheftalie was amazingly rich in flavour and was perfectly counterbalanced by the tartness of the yoghurt and the freshness of the caper leaves. 
Seafood kokoretsi, skordalia - David Tsirekas

The eye catching Seafood kokoretsi’s  combination of the crispy kataifi pastry and the fresh tender seafood was a textural delight.
Tartare of tuna with all its frills, prawn crackers - George Calombaris

The tuna was decadently spiked with a tart mixture and served with refreshing herbs. It was a pleasant and innovative variant of the classic tuna tartare. 
Melizanosalata - Alex Xinis

A celebration of eggplant which made use of the differing textures of eggplants. Most notable was the melitzanoslata dip which boasted a beautiful smokiness which was further enhanced by the ample use of garlic.
Duck and quince - David Tsirekas

The slices of duck breast were cooked to perfection, allowing the rich flavour of the duck to transpire.  The sweet and sticky quince provided the crowning element of luxuriousness to a wonderful dish.
Wagyu tongue and flat iron kalamaki - Travie McAuley

The skewers were sufficiently seasoned and flavoursome, and boasted a lovely outer charring.
Lahanosalata  - Aaron Lynch

Aaron Lynch’s take on the Lahanosalata, a traditional, classic winter salad in Greece was outstanding. Full of flavour and robust textures, it was a delicious accompaniment to the proteins. 
Touloumba, warm rosewater custard, honeyed walnuts - David Tsikeras
“Magnamopolous” - Greek yoghurt ice cream, caramelia, mastic, fruit - George Calombaris

Our dinner concluded on a decadently sweet end with a duo of desserts. The Touloumba was traditional and heart-warming while the “Magnamopolous” was a modern take on the humble ice cream stick. Both were superbly made and absolutely moreish.  
An exciting night featuring 5 outstanding chefs, the evening was certainly a memorable journey through the exciting paradigms of Greek cuisine. 

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Made Establishment.

Greek-Cretan banquet @ Zimari

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Zimari.
Zimari offers a diverse culinary trip for those wanting to explore Greek - Cretan cuisine in Melbourne. The menu takes you through an array of the island’s traditional cuisine using time honoured techniques and flavours.
Zimari opened its doors last November and is owned by Yiannis Malindretos and his partner Melanie Raman, and is already (not surprisingly!), a neighbourhood favourite.
Warm garlic pita bread with oregano and olive oil, served with smoked eggplant dip, tzatziki, caviar roe dip and beetroot dip.

Our feast began with warm pita bread served with an interesting caviar roe dip; smoked eggplant dip , beetroot dip and tzatziki. These dips of bold and vibrant flavour combinations were each well formulated and delicious. 
Cretan bruschetta with mizithra cheese and crushed tomato

The dakakia was a cracker. Made from crisp bread topped with chopped tomatoes, crumbled mizithra cheese and dried herbs and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, the dakakia was a perfectly light appetiser.
Ouzo prawns sautéed prawns in garlic, lemon, ouzo and avocado

The dish of Ouzo prawns were our favourite dish of the night. The prawns were very fresh and the garlic, lemon and ouzo provided punchy fragrant flavours while the avocado imparted a luxurious and rich touch.
From left: Spanakoptia – homemade pastry filled with spinach and mizithra cheese; Greek salad - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper, onion, feta and olives
Spiced pulled pork, chickpeas coleslaw

The spiced pulled pork boasted a lovely and unique flavour. It was beautifully tender, courtesy of being slow cooked and was accompanied by a wonderfully fresh chickpeas coleslaw.
Beef cooked in red wine with pumpkin mash
Baked lamb - lamb marinated in orange juice and wine, served with oven potatoes

The outstanding baked lamb was expertly prepared. The lamb meat was incredibly tender and full of flavour. The perfectly baked oven potatoes were a more than willing canvas for the decadent flavours which we found both complex and interesting.
Sikalaki gliko (greek fig spoon sweet) and Portokalopita (orange and syrup cake with filo and yogurt)

Zimari’s rendition of the classic portokalopita was superb - crispy, syrupy, custardy and paired with sikalaki gliko enveloped in thick, creamy Greek yoghurt. It was a refreshingly zesty dessert that was made even better when paired with a couple of shots of Mastic Skinos.
Zimari pleases with simple foods, meticulously prepared with love. 

Location: 268 High Street, Windsor
Phone: 03 9529 7894
Link: Facebook 
Cuisine: Greek, Breakfast, Bar & Grill

Zimari on Urbanspoon

A Sneak peek... Taste of Melbourne - 13 -16 November 2014 - Albert Park - Saké | Nieuw Amsterdam | Gazi

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Saké, Nieuw Amsterdam and Gazi.
Melbourne’s premier restaurant festival Taste of Melbourne arrives for 2014, once again gracing Pelican Lawn at Albert Park, November 13 – 16. The food and wine celebration sees Melbourne’s favourite restaurants return, as well as new movers and shakers on the dining scene. 

Gastrology bloggers were invited to fly #TasteAir with friendly pilot Adam Valentine who took us on a culinary flight around town, tasting some of the dishes that will be on offer this year at the festival. 

First Stop - Saké 
Saké Restaurant and Bar serves up contemporary Japanese cuisine in the revitalised Hammer Hall within the MCA on the Yarra river. 
With a unique menu that features contemporary sushi alongside traditional Japanese dishes, Executive Chef and sushi master Shaun Presland brings Japanese food and culture to life, where diners are treated to dynamic culinary experiences. 
Our visit started with a sushi making masterclass.
Our pilot
Miso cod lettuce cups & prawn dumplings

Saké’s Taste of Melbourne offering is an absolute winner. The miso cod lettuce cups were filled with a beautifully grilled miso-marinated tooth fish with crunchy katafi pastry. Bursting at the seams with umami, the cups were exquisite in taste. The accompanying prawn dumpling was another standout. Coated in a delicate rice noodle skin, the dumplings were moist, well-flavoured and melt-in-your-mouth tender. 
Sake Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Second Stop - Nieuw Amsterdam
Located at 106-113 Hardware Street in Melbourne, Nieuw Amsterdam is owned and run by Michael Roszbach (former Cookie Manager) and Nick Stanton (former Head Chef, Woods of Windsor). The venue’s name is a throwback to Roszbach’s Dutch heritage, with New York originally named Nieuw Amsterdam when it was first settled by Europeans.

The unique venue is located in a 1880s iron foundry building (originally of hardware merchants) and is said to have named the Hardware Street precinct. Nieuw Amsterdam opened its doors to the public in late December 2013 and specialises in New American style food with a mix of quirky and classic cocktails. 
The menu builds on new interpretations of classic American dishes, such as the chicken waffles with pate, terrine, crispy chicken skin and orange caramel.
Pork trotter and ham hock nuggets burnt onion jam
Chicken waffles pate, terrine, crispy chicken skin, orange caramel
Smokey beef brisket. Kim Chi, BBQ Sauce

We absolutely adored Nieuw Amsterdam’s Taste of Melbourne beef brisket dish. Particularly noteworthy for its fragrant and complex beefy flavours which were enhanced by the tart kim chi and one hell of a bbq sauce. The meat was both soft and delicate.
Berry split White chocolate mousse, Cream cheese sorbet

Their Taste of Melbourne dessert offering was clean, refreshing and fun. We loved the decadent white chocolate that came through on the middle palate and the deliciously refreshing lashings of berries and the decadent yet light cream cheese sorbet. 
Dessert served wtih Salted caramel negroni
Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

Final destination - Gazi
Our delicious dinner concluded on a high note at Gazi. An entirely different side of Greek cuisine, Gazi offers earthy, Athenian ‘Street’ food partnered with exciting and experimental cocktails and spirits.
Left: Cheese - Honey, balsamic Saganaki, lemon
Tiganites patates - Chips, oregano, garlic oil, feta

We shared a few starters. These well formulated dishes of bold and vibrant flavour combinations showcased the culinary potential of Greek cuisine.
Crab Souvlakakia 
Soft shell, mint, coriander, honey, mayo

Gazi’s Taste of Melbourne dish was stunning. The soft shell crab mini souvlaki boasts the legendary George Calombaris pita bread which was the perfect canvas for the beautifully crispy and juicy soft shell crab. The deep fried crustacean pieces were coated in a semi-thick crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. With a touch of fried garlic and a myriad of spices, it was simply superb. It was a dish that was both well thought out and executed.
Gazi on Urbanspoon

Now in its 7th year, Taste of Melbourne is firmly established as an annual ‘must attend event’ that celebrates the city’s ever evolving food, wine and dining scene...

What: Taste of Melbourne 2014
When: Thursday November 13 - Sunday November 16, 2014
Where: Pelican Lawn, Albert Park Lake
Price: Tickets start from $25.00.

Upcoming Event: The Progressive Greek | The best of Greek wines to be uncorked during the month of July

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Douglas Lamb Wines, Longrain, Pei Modern and Gazi.
Food and wine lovers will have the opportunity to taste the finest drops from Greece during the month of July, matched with fine dining, to uncover the truth behind one of the world’s oldest wine-making countries.

Premier Greek wine importer, Douglas Lamb Wines, is hosting The Progressive Greek – specially designed wine and food matching evenings, across Sydney and Melbourne throughout July.

Third generation wine importer and business owner, David Lamb, delivers an opportunity for diners to taste wines from the northern Amyndeon region and the renowned Kir Yianni winery paired with delicious dishes from some of Australia’s finest restaurants including, Longrain, Pei Modern and Gazi in Melbourne and Alpha and Danjee in Sydney.

Gastrology was invited to join a progressive dinner hosted by Douglas Lamb Wines for a sneak peek into what will be in store for the month-long event, 'Amyndeon Oenos’ (Amyndeon, being a wine region in northern Greece and Oenos, the Greek word for wine). At each venue a different glass of Greek wine was matched to a dish, highlighting the versatility of Greek wines across different cuisines.

First stop: Longrain

Selected items were chosen from Longrain’s extensive menu to showcase the ability of the 2013 Kir Yianni ‘Petra’, Macedonia, Greece to match bold, spicy Asian flavours.
Longrain has distinguished itself by South East Asian cuisine that marries polished Western training with fiery Eastern flavours in an informal and relaxed setting. 
Sashimi of Kingfish, caramelised cashew nut nahm jim, trout roe, micro herbs
Filled eggnet, pork, prawns, peanuts, caramelised coconut, cucumber relish
Larp of prawn with lime and chilli

The Sashimi of Kingfish showcased the delicate texture of the Kingfish. The classically Longrain Filled eggnet was, as always, enjoyable and highlighted by the superbly cooked prawns and the gentle tartness of the cucumber relish.  Similarly, the Larp of prawn with lime and chilli was expertly prepared and had juicy, succulent morsels of prawns interwoven with a multitude of intense flavours. 
The feature wine (2013 Kir Yianni ‘Petra’, Macedonia, Greece) matched the dishes perfectly. A wine with citrus notes and a beautiful freshness, it possessed a crispness that managed to cut through and complement bold South East Asian flavours. 
It was a wonderful first stop with rich, flavoursome food in loud, bustling surrounds.
Longrain Melbourne on Urbanspoon

Second stop: Pei Modern

This time, the dishes were chosen from Pei Modern’s menu to match the 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Paranga’ Macedonia P.G.I. Greece.
Pei Modern is three hatted chef, Mark Best’s first Melbourne venture.
Duck egg, Jerusalem Artichoke & Truffle Sauce
Beans ‘a la Grecque’, Wood Grilled Killara Rise Lamb

The lamb was cooked to perfection while the dish of Duck egg, Jerusalem Artichoke & Truffle Sauce was lovely. The Truffle Sauce and the velvety egg yolk combined to produce an intensely rich and beautiful dish. 
The feature wine (2012 Kir Yianni ‘Paranga’ Macedonia P.G.I. Greece) was a great match. A blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Xinomavro and 25% Syrah, the wine was refreshing. With a merlot background and spicy Syrah notes, the acidity of the wine made it a lovely match for both the rich lamb meat and the velvety duck egg.
Pei Modern on Urbanspoon

Third stop: Gazi
Our delicious dinner concluded on a high note at Gazi. An entirely different side of Greek cuisine, Gazi offers earthy, Athenian ‘Street’ food partnered with exciting and experimental cocktails and spirits.
‘Acropolis Now’ Strawberry mousse, coffee & mastic

‘Acropolis Now’ was a strawberry centric dessert which provided a different mix of pleasant flavours. We loved the velvety smooth consistency of the “cake” which served with Greek coffee soil with refreshing hints of pine forest flavour from mastic.
The 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Akakies’ Brut Rose was our favourite match of the night. It was a playful number with complimentary strawberry aromas and bright acidity which cut through the sweetness of the dessert in a delicious fashion. 
Gazi on Urbanspoon

Progressive Greek - A self-guided tour complete with detailed tasting notes 
Each restaurant will be pouring a different a Kir Yianni wine from Amyndeon for the month of July. Each wine will be matched to a small dish. 
Participating restaurants: 
Longrain Melbourne  Wine: 2013 Kir Yianni ‘Petra’
Recommended dish: Prawn salad with mint, chilli, lime and roasted rice.   
Pei Modern Wine: 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Paranga’
Recommended dish: Duck Egg, Jerusalem Artichoke & Truffle (entrée) or the Beans a la Grec, Killara Rise Lamb (main).  
Wine: 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Akakies Brut Rose’
Recommended dish: “Acropolis Now” strawberry mousse with coffee and mastic.

Restaurant Review: Plus 5

Location: 37 South Wharf Road, South Wharf
Phone: 03 9682 0091
Link: http://plus5bar.com.au/
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Wine Bar
Overall Impression: 7.5/10
Located within the refurbished 19th century heritage listed dock and wool store on the Yarra waterfront, Plus 5 Bar is newest addition to Melbourne's thriving bar scene.
We were warmly greeted by our hosts Erin and the restaurant’s bar manager, Alessandro. Alessandro has a thorough background in bars and hospitality - He was previously Bangpop's Bar Manager, Movida’s Assistant Restaurant Manager and MGM Grand Monaco’s Operations Manager.
The interior is predominately steel and timber with a feature tile wall. The bar is an airy, scenic space set in one of Melbourne's oldest boat sheds; the ideal location for sipping distinctive cocktails as the warmer weather sets in.
The cocktail list is brilliant, having been devised by Alessandro and his team and features both classics and a host of Alessandro’s signature cocktails.
Left: Banzai Mule - Eristoff vodka, fresh pineapple juice, lime & ginger beer
Right: White Gin Fizz - Beefeater gin, fresh lemon juice,lemon sorbet topped with soda water

The cocktails were original, cleverly named and presented well but most importantly they were very tasty.
Top Left: Pumpkin, Rosemary, Roasted Garlic, Crudo, Feta
Top Right: Swiss Brown Mushrooms, Parmesan, Breadcrumbs
Bottom Left: Lamb Meat Balls, Pine Nut, Sultana w. Minted Yoghurt
Bottom Right: Skewered Tiger Prawns Brushed w. Parsley & Garlic

The food respects seasonality and is rooted in simplicity. The menu complements the cocktails perfectly, featuring a mix of charcuterie, tapas through to a tight pizza list.
Shredded Confit Duck Goats Chesse, Pomegranate & Citrus Salad

A stand out dish from our visit was the duck salad. This seemingly simple salad was not only complex with layers of flavour, it was also perfectly balanced. The duck was moreish and tender, and it matched beautifully with the subtle flavour of the goats cheese. The fruity acidity and texture of the orange segments provided balance. It was a very enjoyable dish.
Plus 5 is a haven set right on the banks of the Yarra river. Perfect for a summer cocktail and tapas with friends.

 Plus 5 on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Plus 5.