Went to Hellenic Republic on Sunday evening for a quick dinner. Quick because we booked on Friday, and the only times available were 5:30 or 9:30, with the 5:30 time requiring us to be out by 7. We chose to go with that, and found that it was perfectly fine.
4 people for dinner, and we all tend to share the meals, because it is terrible when someone insists on eating all of the best dish. No such problem here, everything was good. We had Saganaki and olives, taramasalata, Florinis Piperies, an eggplant based dip that wasn’t baba ganoush, and some pita breads. the taramasalata and Saganaki were the standouts of these. Fried cheese is amazing at the worst of times, and with tiny peppered figs liberally adorning it, this was far from the worst of times.
We got a mixed grill of lamb and chicken, the baked lamb pasta dish, and some grilled octopus for mains. We had intended to order two of the lamb, but the waitress misheard. Turns out that that was a good thing, as that dish was massive. It arrives in its own casserole dish, and split four ways provided us all with a pleasant amount. It was deliciously rich and creamy. The octopus was perfectly cooked, the only complaint being that perhaps there was too little of it. Part of that issue arises from the small dish on which it is served, making the impression of it small compared to other mains. Both the lamb and chicken off the spit were delicious and tasty, the lamb falling to pieces effortlessly in the mouth and with a wonderful flavour.
When we ordered mains the waitress recommended we get salads with them, which turned out to be an excellent idea, we needed something to counter the intensity of the meat. A village salad and a cracked wheat salad split perfectly well between us, and were invaluable as a complement to the rest of the dishes.
We had also been told (by the power of the internet) that desserts were great here. Very much the case. A serving of Loukomades provided an absurd amount of food, nice light doughnuts drizzled in very tasty honey and walnuts. The semolina cakes were great too, and probably the only dessert we tried that didn’t leave us wondering how anyone could possibly finish one of these by themselves. 2 at our table ordered the kataifi with cherries and mastic icecream, which tasted absolutely amazing, but again was more than any of us were prepared to eat.
While the food overall was excellent, the wine list was lacking, we dont want to spend huge amounts on wine, and there was little to speak of between the house wines and the $50+ bottles. Didn’t think to check if it is byo, but that would be a good option.
For around fifty dollars a head, this is a great place to get good food, but it reinforces in my mind that Akita, the japanese restaurant in North melbourne, is the benchmark for good dining in this city. The general consensus was that Hellenic Republic just did not live up to the expectaions Akita gives us (it is a favourite of us all).