Blink and you’ll miss it

For months I was looking forward to a Greek restaurant finally opening inside the Hellenic Club in Woden. My email subscription to the club was a constant weekly reminder for me to go to Orexi, the highly anticipated new Greek eatery bringing with it a promise of upmarket food by an international Greek chef- Yiannis Baxevanis.

To my surprise, during my weekly brief scroll down the club’s email, something caught my eye which made me scroll back up and re-read the text. Something was different and it took me a brief moment to realise that Orexi’s banner was replaced with Fillo’s Taverna and bar, which started trading last night.

I started typing in Orexi’s website, the page could not be found. I searched the club’s site; no trace of Orexi. It would almost be like they never existed, except for the mixed reviews online as recent as last week.

I wonder what happened?

Looking at Fillo’s menu, there are plenty of things I want to try as it has a lot more range than when they were at The Hamlet. I might have to try it sooner rather than later, just in case they get replaced.

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Plaka re-run

Having dinner at Plaka in Dickson was purely impromptu. A friend lured me out as she needed to be on the other side of town and was saying we could have dinner first. I had just been in Dickson the night before eating at Pho Phu Quoc, so I was wondering what we should eat that night. ‘I haven’t been to Plaka since it opened’ (see my first post here) I thought to myself and it did not take that much convincing for my friend to come eat at the only Greek restaurant (for now) in Canberra.

My friend being as organised as she is, had already looked up the menu and decided what she had wanted but when we got there and she took a closer look at the menu, she went back to being undecided. There were so many things that we wanted to eat but there were only two of us. We decided to divide and conquer. We would share some entrees and share two mains, which would be seafood and Greek lamb (the two things you must try when you go to a Greek restaurant).

Traditional Green Pita bread unleavened pita bread grilled with olive tapenade ($6.00). This bread is spectacular! I don’t think it mattered what spread was on top. It had the perfect texture, it was served hot and the olive tapenade gave it the right amount of saltiness. Kolokithokeftedes zucchini, feta and fresh herb fritters, lightly fried, served with tzatziki (3 per serve $14.00). I found that these really lacked salt and flavour even though there were supposed to be feta in the mixture, which is a real shame considering how amazing the bread was. They were served hot but my friend had a suspicion that they were reheated rather than made fresh.BBQ seafood plate BBQ King prawns, salt and pepper calamari, oysters mornay and kilpatrick, grilled baby octopus and prawn cutlets ($35.00). I think the only down side was to try and eat everything as fast as I could to enjoy the meal while it was hot. I started off with the oysters, the mornay wasn’t that cheesy and I felt that the kilpatrick could have done with more sauce but the grilled baby octopus and calamari was delicious while it was hot.Lamb souvlaki plate two grilled lean lamb fillets skewers marinated in Greek herbs and spices served with chips, greek salad, tzatziki and Greek pita bread ($27.00). I tried the lamb while it was hot but I felt it was a little chewy and obviously the cooler it got, the tougher the meat became. The chips were really good and the salad balanced out all the meat and carbs. Even though I was very full towards the end, I couldn’t help but eat pieces of feta smeared on that awesome pita bread. I told the waitress to take the plate away before my friend would have to roll me out of the restaurant.A few things were a bit of a hit and miss but I did really enjoy parts of this meal, I hope they were just having an off night with their lamb. I love Greek food and I want to love this place but I feel that something was missing with the food. Having said that, the service was fantastic and food came out so fast, we were very impressed.

Jimmy Grants – Melbourne series

TimmyC’s trendy cousin asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted to eat while I was in Melbourne. Besides going to Movida, I didn’t really have anything else in mind and I was just going to go along for the ride to places that she was willing to suggest, but when posed with the question, it made me think about what I couldn’t get in Canberra easily and my first thought was: Greek food.

The schedule was tight while we were in Melbourne, so much to eat yet so little time. We devised a game meal plan and figured while I was getting my fill of Melbourne shopping between meals, I would drop into the Jimmy Grants location within the Emporium Melbourne for a late lunch.

It was finally good to sit down after some non-stop shopping in the giant mall that is Emporium Melbourne but there was plenty of people eating in the food court even though it was around 3pm. When we looked at the Jimmy Grants menu, we could not go past the lamb option so we went with Mr Papadopoulos lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onion and parsley ($11.00). We both really enjoyed this and it was exactly what we needed. Delicious tender lamb in a soft pita bread filled with chips. Mustard aioli wouldn’t have been my first pick of sauces but in fact the flavour tied the whole thing together.

I think it was good to have Jimmy Grants in the more relaxed atmosphere of the food court rather than going to the garishly decorated restaurant that we had driven past the night before. We were able to get in and out with exactly what we wanted even with our time constraints. I will definitely come back to eat more off the menu, why oh why can’t one open in Canberra?
All the options I should try next time!
Filled with lots of lamb which was balanced out by the bread, onions and the chips so it didn’t seem so meat heavy.  

Venue: Jimmy Grants

Address: Emporium Melbourne, Level Three, 287 Lonsdale Street, CBD, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9020 4336
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Fillos Souvlaki

Gone is BurraBerkshires free range food van from the Hamlet and up popped Canberra’s newest Greek eatery: Fillo Souvlaki, which opened less than 3 weeks ago. I hadn’t been to the Hamlet in ages (in my mind) and while I was tempted to go to good ol’ faithfuls like Broddogs and Mr. Papa, but I couldn’t help but try something new.

The menu from Fillos Souvlaki, what would you order?Souvlaki pita lamb souvlaki wrapped in traditional pita bread with tomato, lettuce, onion, tzatziki and chips ($12.50). I wanted something easy to eat not knowing if I was going to get a seat or not so I opted for a pita bread wrap that had my favourite things in it: Greek lamb, tzatziki all wrapped together with chips inside. It was a nice mix of ingredients, between the refreshing flavours between the fresh salad and the sauce, it meant that it wasn’t too meat heavy, but I did expected the lamb to be a little more tender and less chewy.I didn’t have to wait long at all for my order, I was trying to instagram a photo but they were just too quick. I don’t know if I’ll have cravings for souvlaki pita like I do for a chanchito or a roast meat roll from the Spit Shack but the addition of a new unique food van is always welcome to increase food choices at the Hamlet.

Venue: Fillos Souvlaki

Address: The Hamlet, 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, Canberra, 2612

Opening hours:

Wednesday – Thursday 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm | 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Friday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm | 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Sunday 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

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Around the world in 5 hours

Now that Friday incorporates more food at the Multicultural festival, I use it as a scouting mission for the next big full day.
Tonight I tried lots of new things that I’ve never eaten before and there is definitely more to try on Saturday.
Clockwise starting at 12:

Pan rolls from Sri Lanka ($2.50 each)– they taste like a spicy crispy croquette!

African cigars ($9 for 4 pieces)– I really wanted Kpuff Kpuff but they aren’t available until Saturday. This had a spring roll pastry feel but the filling reminded me of an ethiopian meat samosa. Mmmm

African feelings ginger beer ($5.00)– an intense ginger taste that left a mild burning at the back of the throat. Absolutely delicious (for ginger lovers)

Churros ($10 for three churros and dipping sauce) – well this isn’t new but it’s what we wanted at 10:45 pm complete with caramel sauce

Aegean platter BBQ octopus, tzatziki, Greek salad, olives, fetta and pita bread ($15.00) – for the first time I didn’t dive straight into the Greek doughnuts (tomorrow!). I loved everything on this plate

Lokma ($5.00) – I’ve never had a turkish doughnut. They are small, super syrupy and juicy inside. Eat it in one bite or your clothes will get messy

Plantain chips ($6.00) – I would have liked more salt but they came out super hot and fresh

Bhutanese beef momo ($2 each) – one of the better momos I’ve had at this festival. Yum!

Gozleme ($10.00) – I’ve never had one at the multicultural before but it still wasn’t anything special

IMG_9703

 

On Saturday I want to eat: Iranian, Eygptian, Hungarian, Tongan, more Bhutanese and more from the African van.

 

Plaka

When I mention ‘Plaka’, people think of great steaks and pizza, when I think of Plaka, I think of missed opportunity.

I never got to eat at the Plaka restaurant when it was at Mawson, although I’ve had many people recommend it to me after they had closed for three years. Lucky for me, they have re-opened in a new location in Dickson where The Copa Brazilian BBQ restaurant once was. 20140807-122427-44667639.jpgApparently some of the artwork have been taken from the old location and taken to the new restaurant now located in Dickson.20140807-122702-44822962.jpgMy eyes darted around the menu. I didn’t know where to start. I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. Oooh lamb cutlets, oh no wait, lamb souvlaki, oh wow they have mousaka too! In the end, there was no way around it, to taste as much as possible I was going to need to order the mezze plate.

Greek Mezze Platter traditional mezze served with greek salad, chips and grilled pita bread. Spanakopita and tiropita (homemade filo pastries); kefalograviera and feta; chicken and lamb souvlaki; lamb cutlets; vegetarian dolmathes; keftedes (greek meatballs); kolokithokeftedes (zucchini balls) with a mix of homemade greek dips (tzatziki, taramosalata and hummus) ($38.00 per person). Plaka only had several bookings that night and what they didn’t expect was for the restaurant have two table turnovers before we even got there, so they had run out of kolokithokeftedes. 😦20140807-122428-44668999.jpgA mezze platter for three people.20140807-122545-44745826.jpgSpanakopita and tiropita (homemade filo pastries). The pastries were flaky and buttery with a delicious filling, even TimmyC really enjoyed them and he doesn’t usually like ricotta and feta.20140807-122609-44769209.jpgChicken and lamb souvlaki. It amazes me how they have kept the meat perfectly moist while being cooked on a skewer. The chicken had a lovely lemon-y tang to it while the lamb had a strong lamb flavour but lacked a little salt. 20140807-122432-44672147.jpg20140807-122605-44765890.jpgLamb cutlets. They marinate their lamb in herbs but don’t season it with salt but I guess that allows you to add enough for your liking. The meat cutlets were big and tender, very tasty.20140807-122604-44764487.jpgVegetarian dolmathes. There isn’t much I don’t eat but I must admit that dolmathes is something I don’t enjoy. I find the flavours and the oil that it is saturated it unbearable but I took a chance and had one, I surprisingly ate the whole thing. The flavours aren’t as strong and the filling wasn’t completely oily.20140807-122548-44748880.jpgChips. I didn’t really see the need for chips and with everything sitting on top, most of it got soggy but I did sneak in a few in my meal to go with all the meat. 

Pita bread. I was sad to find that they get their bread from Sydney, that seems a bit too far to travel for bread, so I guess I’ll just have to come back more often and eat it here. I was told to wrap a variety of salad and meat in the bread and eat it with all the combined flavours. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to get dips too with the way the menu was written but even without the dips and zucchini balls, we were stuffed and we couldn’t finish the platter.

Keftedes (greek meatballs). I applaud whoever made these. These were cooked through nicely while being fluffy and moist. A great mixture of breadcrumbs, mince and herbs. YUM!20140807-122607-44767656.jpgDessert~ Not only did I eat slowly making us the last people in the restaurant, everyone else before us had eaten all the delicious desserts leaving baklava as the only choice but I was completely fine with that.

Baklava. It’s a big call, but I going to say it is the best baklava I’ve ever eaten if not, at least in the top two! TimmyC promised me his piece because he doesn’t usually like baklava and yet when he tasted it he couldn’t stop eating either.20140807-122648-44808828.jpgI was dining with one of TimmyC’s friends who is the nephew of the owners and with that  privilege I was able to meet the family. By the end of the night, I was ready to become a Greek and move in! They were so super friendly and I loved their food. I was a bit annoyed at the end of the of the night though, they wouldn’t take any of our money even though we insisted.

Plaka have just opened last Saturday (2nd Aug) but with old patrons coming to find them and new ones excited to try them, they get very busy and I would advise booking early to not miss out on anything.

I’m a huge fan of seafood but I currently can’t eat any at the moment (don’t ask, it is just easier not to argue with a Chinese Mum) but when I can, I would definitely come back to try their seafood. I asked them how often they receive seafood and they said everyday (wow!), their prawns come from Coffs Harbour and the rest come from the south coast.20140807-122704-44824253.jpgAlthough they don’t have pizzas right now, there are plans in the future to expand hours to cover Saturday breakfast, maybe have a lunch sitting, eventually bring back pizzas and maybe do BBQ kababs. *licks lips*

Venue: Plaka

Address: 5/55 Woolley Street, Dickson, 2602

Phone: (02) 6249 8880

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 6:00pm till late

Wesbite: http://www.plaka.com.au

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