Hellenic Republic

Written by THE FOOD SOCIETY on . Posted in $$$ A little bit fancy, A little bit fancy, Brunswick, Casual dining, Greek, Tapas, VICTORIA

Hellenic Republic can do no wrong.

The modern taverna offers beautifully constructed (and devilishly decadent) sharing menus from lunch through to dinner, and boy; they do it bloody well.

Adorned with blue and white wooden chairs, thick sailing ropes and light bulbs enclosed in rustic, wicker frames, Hellenic Republic oozes a homely, and somewhat beachy feel – a nice contrast to the business and bright lights of Lygon Street just past the glass door. On a Thursday night the blue and white chairs are filled with a mix of eclectic groups – and yes, with a menu built on tapas and extravagant sharing menus, this place really is made for the group and not the individual.

IMG_2066_副本 On recommendation from our attentive waiter, we opted for the trapezi sharing menu – at $58 for four courses, the sharing menu is truly a bang for your buck and is guaranteed to fill up even the noisiest of bellies (we all felt just about as heavy as hippos by the end of the night, and that’s saying a lot). A smaller 3 course option (Mesimeriano) and more extensive 4 course option (Athenian) is also available for $45 and $70 respectively.

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Mezethakia – Cauliflower cheese croquettes and pita taramasalata

Coming out from the kitchen warm and char-grilled, the pita bread was gorgeously crispy and slightly chewy in the middle. The taramasalata, a dreamy concoction of salted and cured roe, was decadently creamy in all the right places. I believe this is my first encounter with cauliflower croquettes; they didn’t disappoint. Crunchy on the outside and delectably smooth and cheesy on the inside, they were a perfect start to the night.

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Mezethakia – Tyri saganaki

A visit to either Hellenic Republic or The Press Club (its fancier sister) would not be complete without a plate of saganaki. Severed on a hot plate, the hot cheese was crispy and crunchy on the outside corners yet melted in the mouth. Paired perfectly with sweetness and chewiness of the purple figs, with one bite we were sent into saganaki heaven.

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Mezethakia – Smoked salmon dolmades

Rounding off our smaller plates, the bite-size smoked salmon dolmades were comparatively unmemorable – the tang of the feta sadly could not save the blandness and dry texture of the dolomades.

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Thalassina – Cypriot grain salad, fish from the grill and scallops

Powering on to our mains, both the Hervey Bay scallops and fish from the grill (topped with a refreshingly light dollop of salsa) were quickly devoured. The cypriot grain salad was a particular favourite – a mixture of lentils, currants, mint, parsley and almond slivers was tied together perfectly with the sweet tang of pomegranate. Yuuummmy.

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Kreata – Meat of the day, potatoes, cabbage salad and tzatziki

Our kreata (meats) consisted of slow roasted shoulder of lamb torn into moreish pieces, and bannockburn chicken off the spit. Thick and juicy, the lamb was wonderfully tender, satisfying our meat cravings.

To accompany the meats we were served a light cabbage salad with balsamic, honey and kefalograviera cheese, and a plate of tzatziki. Refreshing and tangy, both helped cut through the heaviness of the meats, and made us feel just a little less barbarian devouring the poor animals.

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Kreata – Meat of the day

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Epithorpio – Chilled rice pudding

Despite our protestant bellies (which were by this time crying from being stuffed silly with food), we rounded off the night with a pot of chilled rice pudding each. Mixed with decadent salted caramel, almond slivers and chunks of sweet shortbread, the pudding was a struggle to eat – but as you progress through the dessert, the almost sinful combination has you going back for more. So much food, but oh so good.

If you find yourself in the area, do yourself a favour and head down to Hellenic Republic for a little Greek tapas heaven. The best thing about this place is that you get to try a little bit of everything.

And we love a little bit of everything.

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