Hellenic Republic, Lygon St

I took my dad here for Father’s Day, gambling that being from Regional QLD (as I am) this would be something completely new and different for him. I was right. After five minutes in the cozy yet dimly lit taverna I took the initiative to order his food for him. Good move! Even if I do say so myself – we could’ve been there all night, which wouldn’t have necessarily been a bad thing.

Hellenic Republic is up the better end of Lygon Street, far from the tourists and the shame pizza. It is also the third Columbaris restaurant I have been to, and I was glad to see that it was on the cheaper end of the scale.  The staff were a little condescending which was unnecessary. The wine menu was extensive as is common in colombaris restaurants however, in this case, alternative drink choices were limited.

For entrée we ordered grilled calamari and saganaki with figs. Both are simple dishes but were superbly executed. Figs were an excellent accompaniment to the saganaki and the calamari was cooked well. This was followed by mains of lamb, moussaka and a grain salad. The lamb was juicy, flavorful and probably some of the best lamb I’ve eaten out, which boded well considering lamb is almost a Greek staple. The moussaka had only one layer of pasta which seemed odd, however it made up for it in flavor delivering on the traditional favourite.

The dessert had elements that were highlights and others which were disappointing. We ordered three plates to share, the Hellenic donuts, the kataiffi and the Hellenic mess with strawberry ouzo sauce. The ice cream that came with the Kataiffi was the best part of dessert and possibly the meal. Made with Metaxa, which I believe is a brandy/wine spirit, it had an almost indescribable flavour, which I recommend that anyone going to Hellenic gives a try. Now to the disappointing elements – the donuts were underwhelming, just sort of balls of seemingly undercooked dough in sugar with no real flavour. The Hellenic mess was lacking in fruit or jelly or something else, it was simply flavoured cream, meringue and the ouzo sauce which seemed to be a bit of a gimmick – not adding anything to the dish.

Hellenic does not seek to reinvent the wheel.  It offers traditional Greek food but with a slight twist. Despite some of the negatives, I recommend giving it a go.

Don’t go. Try it. Must go.

<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1419361/restaurant/Victoria/Brunswick/Hellenic-Republic-Brunswick-East”><img alt=”Hellenic Republic on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1419361/biglink.gif&#8221; style=”border:none;width:200px;height:146px” /></a>

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Categories: Fine Dining, Greek

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