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Nov 30, 2008 03:42 PM

Hellenic Republic [Melbourne]

The Press Club (two hat modern Greek restaurant in the CBD) has opened a more casual Greek place in the inner northern burbs. Opens 5th December (only a month late) - bookings are through the Press Club at the moment.

Will report back once we've tried it next week, but it has been eagerly awaited. According o the press blurb back in March, "Hellenic Republic will be a new-style old-style Greek taverna, according to Calombaris".

Well, Melbourne definitely needs one to replace the cloned 1960s tired old tavernas that pepper Fitzroy.

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  1. I was at Hellenic Republic this afternoon for some brunch... The restaurant looks great, very Grecian painted white brick and tile, open kitchen, lots of light. We were seated promptly and told a waitress would be over... She arrived, without menus, asked for our drink order straight after saying hello. When I asked for a menu she brought one over for the three of us... a bit weird?? Coffees arrive within 10 minutes, our order is taken. The food was just OK - I had the Greek porridge, flavour was good, but the lumpy texture wasn't to my liking. Bircher muesli was tasty, omelette was apparently good. So food wise everything was average but I would have to say the service needs work. An OJ ordered when the food arrived took 15 minutes to get to the table, the server never came back to check if everything was OK, empty plates sat on the table for about 10 minutes before being removed, the bill took another 15 minutes to arrive and we waited another 10 minutes for the credit card to come back to the table.
    I'd have to say this is not a place I would go back to, the food was "meh" and the service slow and a little too casual.
    I actually can't believe that service staff in this country have the gall to pre-auth credit cards in search of tip, considering the lack of effort and care they put into service.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kiwiFRUIT

      I didn't even realise they did brunch, must be trying to catch the yuppies in the Nandos apartment block. I can forgive them a bit on the service as they've only been open three days and they are in pre-opening (their website isn't up etc). That said, I hope my experience is better than yours!

      What did you mean by them pre-authing credit cards? Do they add service on or something?

      1. re: kiwiFRUIT

        Have you never eaten out before... how do you expect a restaurant or retailer to check your card to see if it's valid without a pre-auth... oh the ignorance.

        This sums up my recent trip to the tee...

      2. Had dinner with my wife on Tuesday evening. Every table was full by the time we left, though bookings were staggered and they seemed to do a great job managing te pace of arrivals. As kiwifruit says, the restaurant is open plan in a colol mediterranean style. One corner at the street facing part of the restaurant is a single huge table that couples and threes were being seated at.

        We sat at a table for two at the window. Waiting staff very helpful, explained the menu options (basically, a la carte or two set mensus, one with dessert and one without). Wine list was Australian by the carafe (four wines - chardy, sav blanc, shiraz, pinot) and then plenty of Greek. We picked a Greek white wine for $36, and I had a $7 glass of sweet wine with my fruit.

        Food didn't disappoint. We had the set menu without dessert (50pp) - half a dozen mezze, including a couple of oysters; skewered swordfish chunks, spanakopita and spinach; roasted pork with chips; and fruit. Plenty of food, no danger of leaving hungry. I got the impression the fish and meat courses change regularly.

        The tzatsiki, swordfish and pork were the standout dishes. Just well cooked quality food at pretty good prices.

        1. Had dinner last Wednesday (Dec 10) and found it a fantastic, fun and extremely authentic vibe. Whilst Melbourne may have other 'tavernas' there are none of note on this side of town, so hats off (or on:-) )to George and his team for bringing this one to us. The food was impeccable as you'd expect and as per the Press Club we learnt a little something along the way (Taramosalata is authentically white! not pink) . The lamb was succulent even at the end of the night and the chips (in paper!!!) had us in raptures. A chip sounds simple? Wait 'till you taste them. The staff were Bright Enthusiastic Knowledgeable and Busy, and we thought they all did a great job. There is already nothing in Melbourne to match this Taverna and given time to develop it's full character, we can't imagine much topping it. After all balance is just that, no highs or lows everything right in the pocket. Design, decor, food, service, price, all perfectly in harmony. This is casual vibie dining that ticks all the boxes for us. And if you don't think these guys know how to blend cultures, have a look down the side of the building... Spartan warriors (I assume) 'graffittied' on the side wall , well they're in Brunswick, it was going to happen, and this way it looks Fantastic! And who said it's only art if it's on a canvas and in gallery. My advice give the Hellenic Republic a try it's a multidimensional experience :-)
          Oh and the spices/supplies etc to take home...Thank you!.

          2 Replies
          1. re: subeee

            Hellenic Republic is getting some rave reviews, it will be on my list of places to try for 2009. I can't wait to see what the guys who have bought Mini will do!

            1. re: TheKitchenEnquirer

              Well we thought if we went back once the fuss had died down a bit we might find a slightly different experience. And with a published review stating once the "A Team left” we were curious. However from our perspective there has been no dropping off of service or food quality... Dare I say it; is it possible the service could have slightly improved? Certainly the wait staff that served us were polite, personable and punctual with the service they provided.
              On this occasion we went early and mid week, the place was vibey bustling and exactly as I remembered it. The quality of ingredients was still first rate ( as we would expect) and the food is as you’d want and expect just fantastic fresh Greek flavours. Some of which I even took home for later :-)
              Could someone tell me is it the subtle smell of the grill and food cooking that makes us desperate for Ouzo on arrival? I don't know but forget the wine list if you're not drinking Ouzo you've probably missed the point of the place :-). Anyhoo, I digress, the food is still FANTASTIC, "The A Team?" Well who are they! Unless the reference was to the current team I've got no idea?
              Our only criticism was (if there must be one) on the night we were there the Hellenic Republic was responsible for dragging poor old Jeff & Flicka Kennett from their leafy green south east over to our graffiti grey north west. Fortunately for all, there was a Black BMW no doubt with fitted with GPS navigation parked out the front for the duration to ensure they found their way home :-) I am having fun there. Welcome to the Nor/West Jeff it was lovely to see you! And thank you to the team at Hellenic Republic for another fabulous night.