“Have you ever, ever felt like this,
When strange things happen,
Are you going round the twist?”
The Dear Luncher has never before dined in Kew, nor has he ever dined at this particular Calombaris Empire establishment. Hellenic Republic has been on Your Dear Luncher’s hit list for some time and recently an opportunity arose to strike it off said list. This franchise boasts three locations across Melbourne; with the others being in Brunswick and Williamstown. Thankfully Calombaris has not cloned himself three times so he could run all three at the same time, yet.
Bustling and lively – these were the first impressions Your Dear Luncher acquired as he walked through the doors at Hellenic Republic in Kew. Enjoy a virtual tour of the premises here, it’s a great little setup. Tasteful and modern – yet simple. When you sit down, you feel like you want to dig in for a while.
Sharing is a foreign concept to The Dear Luncher, but alas – sharing plates is the way it works at Hellenic Republic. The Dear Luncher’s entourage wasted no time in ordering a whole raft of them. One can order a la carte via this menu, or you can select the “Feed Me” options; of which there are two (the more expensive option has a series of seafood dishes). A la carte was the path Your Dear Luncher’s compañero’s chose.
The Dear Luncher’s dining group contained some serious carnivores with appetites for destruction. The following dishes were ordered to commence proceedings: olives + pita, tztaziki + taramosalata + 2 x Kefalograviera saganaki, peppered figs + chicken pastitsio croquette, saffron aioli.
Here we have the olives/taramosalata and chicken croquettes flanked by two serves of the Hellenic Republic take on saganaki. Human beings as a species have accomplished so much. We discovered penicillin, we landed on the moon. But more importantly we discovered that frying or grilling cheese is a fucking good idea. The Dear Luncher considers himself a bit of a saganaki fiend; this is due to a longstanding cheese addiction. Hellenic Republic’s effort on the saganaki front was elite. The figs were an intriguing addition. Not entirely necessary, but not unwelcome either. Each and every starter/entrée was outstanding however. Including the fried cephalopods.
Beer was part of the spectacle early on. Your Dear Luncher partook in both local and Greek options with the Hellenic ale (by Two Birds) and Vergina ‘Red’ Lager. The Hellenic ale produced by the local brewers was The Dear Luncher’s preferred option. The Red Vergina was interesting, but a little too far on the sweeter/maltier side. As memory serves, only 48 vagina jokes were made during the consumption of this lager.
Now for the mains, feast your eyes. I don’t meant feast on your eyes I mean use your eyes to examine these things:
Said in Calombaris voice: “The Dear Luncher was truly blown away by deese dishes“. The lamb in particular was mind-bendingly delicious. Fall off the bone, tender. The mint, basil and parsley ensemble of sauce topping the lamb was utterly hypnotic. The “Little Greek Boys” were not as little as the name suggests and the chicken off the spit was prepared to perfection. Keeping things simple with chicken is often the best solution – garlic, lemon and oregano the only things added. Even the bloody grain salad was delicious. Impossible, right? It’s just grains, thrown together. These main meal sharing plates were accompanied with a bottle of The Story ‘Intro’, Shiraz (2015) from The Grampians in Victoria. The wine list was heavily stacked with Greek wines. Your Dear Luncher was not feeling adventurous enough to try any of them due to an incident with Retsina from his younger days.
Ordinarily, The Dear Luncher does not opt for dessert but such was the joy experienced with all that preceded it, the dessert menu was requested. Ordered at this stage of proceedings were the Mini Magnomopoulos peanut banana ice cream (x2), raspberry jelly, peanut crunch + Haloumi loukoumades, lemon curd + Risogalo, salted caramel, kourambiethes. Your Dear Luncher was in charge of one of the Mini Magnomopoulos’ and admired the creativity of said dish immensely. Also sampled was the loukoumades, which was delightful.
Apart from the epileptic fit The Dear Luncher experienced due to the faulty lighting in the building, this was a truly superb dining experience. For the quality of provisions I would suggest Hellenic Republic is well priced. The Dear Luncher ate and drank like a Lord for $100 in total. The Dear Luncher recommends opting for the 8:15pm sitting, so that you can carry on drinking after eating and not be forced out at gunpoint when your time is up.
* joking about the epileptic fit.
**joking about the gunpoint thing.
Location: 26 Cotham Road, Kew, Melbourne.
Phone: (03) 9207-7477