Part and parcel of being of Greek origin is that everyone in the family is a natural food critic, particularly when it comes to Greek food. When one discovers a Greek restaurant that is impressive, and the whole extended family likes it, it means the restaurant has nailed it.
One such restaurant is Gazi, another of George Kalombaris’ successful business ventures. Named after a cool, night life and restaurant district of Athens, and inspired by Greek Street food, Gazi has that laid back vibe; Terracotta pots hanging from the ceiling, distressed concrete walls, and fluoro toilets with amorous scenes from Ancient Greece on the toilet door.
The food is outstanding and is made to share. Skipping the dips and bread allows more space to try various dishes. The Saganaki with cumquat glyko and black pepper $14.50 has the right amount of saltiness, sweetness and the heat of the pepper. The Duck Souvlakaki replete with chips, parsley, onion, pear and mustard mayo $12.00 is juicy, succulent and the flavour of the duck is enhanced by the mustard mayo.
The woodfire spit chicken with white beans, tyrokafteri and walnut dressing $28.00, is a standout dish. Tender, imbued with smoky flavour and the perfect dish to share amongst friends, washed down with a shot of Plomari Ouzo with water on ice. Ouzo is the perfect foil to cut through rich meat and olive oil. Tiganites patates- chips with feta and oregano and Agouri , cucumber with garlic oil, almonds and feta accompany the chicken as tasty side plates. George Kalombaris’ humour extends to the “Doing it Greek Style” banquet and “Bend over Box” for lunch (Mon-Friday) which I’m yet to try at Gazi.
The dessert of the day Mandarin Mousse with Chocolate soil looks impressive. Mandarin mousse in the shape of the Parthenon Ionic columns and soil representing the Athenian soil, the concept is a delight, but whilst the soil is tasty, the mandarin mousse lacks the depth of flavour to make this a memorable dessert.
Gazi is the best Greek restaurant in Melbourne. Just ask my relatives.