Written by Simon Ly.
Out of all the restaurants in the Masterchef-driven empire of eateries, Hellenic Republic in Brunswick East was the chosen location to launch George Calombaris’s new book, Greek. In his latest book, Calombaris provides family recipes with a twist focusing exclusively on Greek food. The cookbook is beautifully presented, well-photographed and extensive in its list of recipes. If you don’t see yourself as much of a cook, it will at the very least be a wonderful addition to your coffee table.
It was a star-studded affair of a who’s who of the restaurant industry, with presenters and attendees including Heston Blumenthal (who delivered a wonderful introductory speech), Gary Mehigan and Archie Thompson (leading striker for Melbourne Victory given Calombaris is the number one ticket holder), to name a few.
As you would expect, it was a well catered affair, with many dishes drawing or exclusively coming from the kitchen of Hellenic Republic. Our favourite could have come out of a Survivor challenge, being a perfectly-crumbled lamb’s brain garnished and sauced delightfully.
From the spit came a fatty and tasty pork belly in a fluffy pita bread. They came in appropriately finger food sized portions. So we ate two each.
As the night drew to a close the waiters brought around two desserts, one being a Hellenic Republic favourite - the Risogalo, a rice pudding topped with almond shortbread crumble, pistachio and drizzled in salted caramel.
The second was less sweet and more alcoholic being compressed watermelon soaked in ouzo, with almond slivers and mint.
All in all, it was a wonderful night that celebrated a chef continuing his ascension both in food and business. We can only anticipate this success continuing. You can get Calombaris’s Greek at the stores listed here.