Its been a while since DDO posted – not necessarily a reflection of suddenly becoming hermits, but more of the fact that our little one has sucked up any spare time (and energy) that we previously had for blogging…but I digress.
So to celebrate our (N&J’s) recent wedding anniversary (4 years!), we paid a visit to Gazi – the latest slightly schizophrenic, neon clad addition to George. C’s already bursting culinary empire. Whilst it was probably the complete opposite to the romantic venue we had hoped for (a la Jacques Reymond, which by the way is closed on a Sunday) it wasn’t a poor choice food-wise, and given J’s selective auditory issues (i.e. I usually have to repeat everything I say at least once) shouting across the table was no divergence from the norm (although I do blame the noise for ordering a cocktail with ouzo in it – either that or the waiter omitted this ingredient). But if you do value your space, the place will probably induce claustrophobia, with tables so close that even the wait staff have difficulties passing through – the terracotta pot lined ceiling, whilst visually impressive, don’t really help to create the illusion of space either (to quote J: ‘I don’t get the pots – it’s a health and safety hazard’).
So noise and space aside, the food (self described Greek street food), whilst being good, is probably very far from being authentic, and is certainly not priced as street food. There is also a slightly over-priced wine list, which is certainly a little adventurous with its Greek offerings (we went for a Bordeaux red, which J said tasted fine, but to my ouzo inflicted tastebuds, was a little bit too spicy?).
To start we ordered the Taramosalata dip – which comes dotted with broken prawn crackers and a small serving of fluffy flat bread. YUM.
We also ordered some Ethnika Vromika (Hellenic Dirty Food) Saganaki and prawns which wasn’t really ‘dirty’ at all, and unfortunately not much to write home about – I much prefer the basic (and ‘dirtier’) versions served at tavernas like Jims.
From the ‘Wood Fired Grill’ we ordered some lamb cutlets (priced per cutlet) – which were tasty but a little bit too fatty for my liking, and J had half a corn cob, which came glistening with butter (or perhaps olive oil) and topped with cheese, and by all accounts was delicious. At the same time our side – a big fat plate of thick chips – was served up, golden and crisp.
At this point I am slightly dreading the sight of our Souvlakakias (I was suffering some abdominal discomfort from a mild case of gastroenteritis passed on from the little one – the lunch we had earlier at Matteo’s was a struggle…) which arrive momentarily – lucky they are small compared to the traditional souvo bar offering. J had the beef brisket and I the chicken. Both were wrapped in fresh fluffy flat bread and came stuffed with shoe string fries (turns out we really didn’t need those aforementioned chips! – although no one told us that). The meat inside both were delicious and quite succulent, although I probably preferred the beef brisket. There are less traditional souvlaki options such as duck and crab for the more adventurous that we didn’t get to sample this time around.
No dessert for us – as both J and I are well and truly stuffed – but the menu is certainly varied with modern takes on traditional favourites such as rice pudding (Risogalo Jar which comes in a smoking glass pot) and Loukomathes (cocoa nibs, honey as described on the menu). For those wanting a smaller sweet snack, there are ION chocolate bars and blocks from the Periptero (Greek Milk Bar) on offer.
If you’re after a fun night with a bit of a gimmicky menu, then Gazi is your place – vibey, good food in a good location. Personally, if I want good Greek food or a stinky souvo, I am pretty happy with my favourite tavern / souvo bar.
2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
+61 (3) 9207 7444