After the rise of Masterchef and increasing fame of George Calombaris, I’m surprised and, not gonna lie, pretty sad it took me so long to try Hellenic Republic – the birthplace of a multitude of restaurants dreamed up by our favourite TV restauranteur/chef.
I highly doubted we would get a seat without a booking, but on an early Tuesday evening the restaurant was nice and quiet, though we did get warned the table would need to be returned by 7pm.
Starting the party was the most greek dish we could find on the menu, Tiganites Patates ($5.4). They were crispy fried with garlic oil and chunky fluffy inside, with just the right amount of sea salt and oregano crumb.
Trying to keep up the pretence of healthy eating, the Salata Brokolini ($12.5) was ordered, which was quite nice, though nothing special you couldn’t pull off at home. The broccolini were lightly dressed with olive oil, fried garlic and filleted whit anchovies with almond slices. Simple and enjoyable.
The Hitenia: Hervey Bay scallops, cauliflower puree, garlic skordalia crust ($6.0 each) were quite nice though slightly dry. All the flavours went together well, and the scallops were fresh and not overcooked, but it felt slightly dry.
I am glad there was an option for a smaller portion of the Arni Sto Gourno ($19.2) slow roasted lamb shoulder on the bone, as there was a fair bit of meat present, albeit all delicious. The lamb was tender and marinated perfectly, it fell of the bone like all lamb shoulder should do.
I think the “Kalamari” chargrilled calamari, fennel, lime and dill yoghurt, bulgur wheat ($21.0) was my favourite dish of the night. The calamari wasn’t chewy, but velvety smooth in your mouth, and together with the light yoghurt sauce which brought out the fresh seafood flavour, it was a very nice end to the main meal.
I must admit I am not a big fan of most Greek desserts, so the Hilopita Me Vissino Pagota: plum and apple tart, sour cherry icecream ($12.0) was chosen. It was quite a nice shortcrust pastry tart, with a good balance of filling to pastry. The sour cherry icecream was quite punchy, but I would choose a different dessert option next time.
TL;DR Pretty damn good Greek