The servings are wholesome. The views outside are good, as the restaurant faces the beach and Botany Bay. The ambiance inside is cosy and rustic. The staff go about their business efficiently but at times they need to look at the seated customers more, especially if they are seeking help. The menu has variety and echoes authenticity in choice.
It is a small restaurant but located at the heart of the Brighton-Le-Sands dining hub. It is surrounded by Mediterranean culinary competitors and could be a vital stop in a foodie tour. Streamed music in the background got louder progressively as the night wore on, but hey, this is a Greek culinary experience - no dancing though as can be found in some boisterous restaurants in other places.
Ingredients like almonds, tomatoes, Pita breads, yoghurt, Tzatziki dips, lentils, quinoa, Freekah, onions, raisins, eggplants and honey are aplenty here. And then there are also Bechemal cheese, Napolitana bisque sauce and the rice vine leaf rolls or the Dolmades. Or the more familiar Greek styled fries and garlic breads.
This was a good selection of reds from my mate - the Chateau Nico Lazaridi,a s a waiter suggested, is a value offering, flavourful, not overly bold and most agreeable before the start of a meal. No Ouzo tonight, we went to the vineyards! Ouzo can be served in a shot glass or mixed with drinking water - best drunk with the starters of meze.
My mate had the good looking lamb shoulder which had been stewed for several hours - this came out well, with no over flow of gravy as in some mainstream Aussie places but with the meat showing excellent texture and taste. The obvious presence of olives, garlic cloves and lemon used to simmer in their juices on to the cooking process make this unique.
Barbecue plates for two persons comprise of either seafood or meat. For ala carte, I was already captivated by the grilled options in swordfish, chicken, pork, baby snapper and Barramundi. Chicken stood out in the Irini Santorini and the butterflied chicken Tis Skaras.
For the Irini, you get a Chicken supreme fillet with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, fetta, spinach, sun dried tomatoes and a lentil and bean salad drizzled with an Ouzo and tomato based Vinaigrette. I noticed the Karas is dominated by a theme of lemon - fresh lemon slices, a lemon thyme oil and lemon flavoured potatoes, apart from a mint yoghurt.
Meze starters, almost akin to Mediterranean yum cha teasers, are aplenty to choose from. I love the zucchini fritters; marinated pickled octopus; pork, leek and fennel sausages: pork belly strips; and King prawns with Ouzo spice salt.
The Rigoni pasta were put at the base of the hotpot soup I had for mains as shown above but initially they looked more like grains. Indeed they are - barley or related to the Italian Orzo.
The seafood offered in my hotpot - mussels, king prawns, Barramundi and octopus - were market fresh, had infused flavour and was impressive, although I would preferred the soup to be stronger in spice and more bold. Toasted bread beside the bowl was smoky on the tongue. I found this excellent for a winter's evening, making the body warm inside with a cosy feel.
For Melbournians, Meet the Greek can be a sort of Lonsdale Street by the sea.
A reasonably priced banquet is also offered with either lamb or pork Rotisserie, that delightful Hellenic grill over charcoals. The meat is roasted whole and horizontally over the spit. There is continuous rotation of the meat which is also ensured constant self-basting itself. It is a centuries old technique and the use of charcoal provides sensations on the palate that modern cooking facilities cannot. The meat is then carved for more practical bites and serves.
Meze choices in the banquet package are Haolami, Oktopadi and Kalamakari. I am sure a reader can correctly make out the English language equivalents of these delightful snack bites. At times, I find it is already sufficient to have these entrees with no more room for the mains, but then that's me. Some mates remind me that the meze are to stir up the appetite for more, not less!
Smoked eggplant, pink cod roe and Dodoni fetta dips are de rigour here as well, I just love the variety offered. The staple dip of Tzatziki, a strained youghurt mixed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, possibly dill, garlic, cucumbers a d a dash of salt, is also good here.
Vehicle parking is best available on side streets.
Opening hours for lunch on week days are from 12 noon to 230pm and for dinners on weekdays and Saturdays from 530pm to 1030pm.
The restaurant is open on Sundays from 12 noon to 1030pm. It is closed for lunch on Saturdays.
Contact them on +61 9597 5062