In my absence, the Melbourne addition to the first world's street food revolution is souvlaki. It comes as no surprise that George Calombaris led the way with Gazi (focus on Greek street food) and Jimmy Grant's (focus specifically on souvlaki).
My cravings for Stalactites lamb gyro souvlaki was put on hold as I made a booking for Gazi as venue for a long overdue catchup.
I didn't take any photos that evening (which is a shame) and in a way it was telling that the food took backseat to the conversation and catchup. This could mean the conversation was all encompassing, but also the food was not particularly special.
For ease, the Doing It Greek Style 10-dish sharing menu was selected. It was a lot of food.
- 3 dips + flat bread - tzatziki, taramosalata (fish roe) with prawn crackers, miso melitzanosalata (eggplant, miso);
- Saganaki, honey, sesame, lemon - delicious fried cheese with a good amount of saltiness, elasticity and a tiny bit of crunch;
- Soft Shell Crab Souvlakakia (mint, coriander, honey, mayonnaise) - very nice soft fried crab;
Duck Souvlakakia (chips, parsley, onion, pear, mustard mayo) - very very crispy strips of duck meat with unmistakable duck flavour, but lacking the succulence the meat usually deserves;
- Wood-Fire Grill Swordfish - sadly was well cooked through and a bit dry;
- Wood-Fire Spit Pork Belly (white beans, apple skordalia) - moist soft chunks of belly meat that I couldn't stop helping myself to;
- Chips of Tiganites Patates (oregano, garlic oil, feta) - reasonably crispy chunky chips, good seasoning, and the feta lifts it to another level of silky unhealthiness;
- Acropolis Now (stawberry mousse, coffee and mastic) - very sweet strawberry dessert;
- Loukomathes (honey nutella, crushed hazelnuts) - excellent warm doughnut balls crispy smothered in honey.
There are two dishes I can't recall - one was probably a street food starter and the other was a salad. I was a bit disappointed there wasn't any lamb, not even available as a souvlakakia.
What I will gripe about is the service. A friend had previously warned me they had several different waiters and a degree of neglect overall. Our experience was again, having 4-5 different servers - I don't tend to mind this much, but when there is no communication between them and every 5 minutes a different waiter comes to ask us how everything is, it starts to really get annoying.
Next time I would order the a la carte instead of tasting menu. I'd be quite happy to eat the Saganaki, Pork Belly and Loukomathes again. I'd be willing to give the Crab and Duck Souvlakakias another try with more of my mind's focus, but am also tempted by the rumours about the Beef Brisket one. Off the dishes not yet tried, the most enticingly worded are Crispy Lamb Brains, Wood-Fire Grill Lamb Cutlets and what would likely be the piece de resistance, the Koondrook Braise of Kid Goat for 2.