I was in charge of organising dinner for work and lucky me, I got to pick the place. After hours of running around, a work colleague suggested Hellenic Republic (it was closer to his house) and I realised that this place has been on my to go list since FOREVER! Why does this name ring a bell you say? That’s because it’s one of George Calombaris’ (yep, that guy from masterchef) restaurant. Luckily, I was able to make a reservation for 18 people on a Saturday night at one weeks notice. Anywho, there was a 2 hours time limit but that didn’t deter me at all.
We arrived at 6PM and it wasn’t busy just as yet. By the time everyone turned up, it was 6:30PM and boy, was Hellenic Republic packed. So if you do plan on coming here, remember to make a reservation because you don’t want to be left out in the cold finding a new place to go to if it’s too full. Since we had a table for 18, we got our own little section where it was sectioned off which I thought was pretty cool.
We got the Anthenian banquet ($69 pp) and all the dishes were made for sharing (sharing is caring YO!). Let’s get this party started! First up were the small dishes, pita bread, pickled veggies (toursi) and tyrokafteri (cheese and pepper dip) and taramasalata (cod roe dip). The toursi, I wasn’t a great fan since I don’t really like pickled things and the consensus was you need a particular palate to enjoy them. I LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE the tyrokafteri, especially with pita bread and it was hard for me to control myself because I just wanted to gobble it all up.
Now, if you absolutely adore cheese like myself (the cheese queen has spoken!), you’ll love this dish – Saganaki which was basically fried cheese. This was ABSOLUTELY AMAZEBALL! I loved every piece of it! Must get if you’re a cheese fan.
Next were the cured salmon and these were divine. LOVED them as well. Nothing to complain about here guys. Keep on eating.
These little balls of heaven (also known as croquettes) and by golly, they were crunchy and oh so delish! I haven’t gotten anything I didn’t like yet! Keep them coming boys!
To make us feel a tad healthy, the grain salad was plonked in front of us. I’m not a salad person when there’s meat on the table but this was refreshing and very light. Not bad I must say, I would totally get another spoonful if I wasn’t saving my tummy for the mains!
The seafood has entered the building (YAYERS!) and they were char grilled prawns and tuna. The tuna was AH-MAH-ZING! Char grill on the outside and still red on the inside. DELECTABLE! The prawns were quite average so I gave mine away…
Finally, the last of the mains, meat galore. There were chicken from the spit, slow roasted lamb shoulder, lahanosalata (cabbage salad) and tzatziki. The outstanding dish was the chicken, so tender, so juicy and so full of flavour. The lamb was disappointing, it was quite dry even after I lathered it in tzatziki. The cabbage salad was pretty average too, nothing special about it.
Finally, what I waited for all night – DESSERT! The loukoumades where haloumi doughnuts with spiced sugar and these were so fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. I think they need to either be served with a honey syrup (like at Gazi) or some ice cream on the side.
The last dessert of the night – chilled rice pudding with salted caramel, almond shortbread and pistachio. I LOVED this dessert better than the doughnuts. I quickly learnt that you need to mix up the whole thing or you’ll get bursts of sweetness and you don’t want that at all. Mixing it all in, my gosh, it was a rice pudding but full of flavour. This is the dessert dish to get and you shall not be disappointed.
The food here was AWESOME SAUCE and had service to match. Although we did feel a bit rushed which was mainly due to our 2 hours block before we had to leave (which was fair enough). You get great quality (and quantity) food for a decent price, George, you’ve done it again!