Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hellenic Republic caters for the masses!

Hellenic Republic on Urbanspoon

Hellenic Republic
434 Lygon Street
Brunswick East 3057
Tel: (03) 9381 1222

It's funny how much the unspoken fear which grips us all after a tragic event such as the abduction and murder of Gillian Meagher after an evening out in nearby Brunswick surfaces when you approach the area driving alone to go to dinner. You start thinking about where you will park and how far it will be away from the safety of lighting and other people, mentally noting that you hope that you transferred your hand-held alarm and torch into your substitute bag whilst the normal one was in the wash (it transpires I forgot!). It turned out that I was not the only one conscious of such things - I accompanied one of my colleagues to her car and she then kindly drove me to mine, ensuring that I got into it safe and sound.

This was a Christmas function for one of my occasional jobs. The set menu was $58.00 per head and the waitpersons were most remiss in not informing us that tea and coffee were extra. The cappucino was $3.50 and of an acceptable quality. Plain water was free of charge but the mineral water appeared to be $2.00 per person.

Let me say up front that this large open-roomed restaurant was EXTREMELY NOISY and it was hard to hear the person next to you and you basically had to shout to be heard. It is not the sort of place for a quiet conversation or to take hard-of-hearing elderly relatives. However, one of our party did mention that it was a little quieter for Sunday lunch.

We arrived at 8pm but the food service did not finish until close to 11pm, so this was rather disappointing. There was a plate and cutlery change between the starters and the main course, and fresh generously sized paper napkins for the mains and desserts. The food was all well prepared and of good quality, but there was a bit too much salt and heaviness for my palate and I would have liked to see more greenery/vegetables to balance out the meal a bit more.

For starters there was some pita bread and taramasalata made with white cod roe, and this was followed by some small (somewhat tasteless) green peppers, crumbed flavoursome fish balls and a slab of fried haloumi cheese served with sweet small honeyed figs. Another platter came out with tender grilled pieces of fish and a crumbed scallop for each person accompanied by a tabbouleh type salad, tzatziki and a small amount of possibly basil dip. Next were some roasted chicken and lamb pieces served with whole roasted potatoes. Unfortunately the meat was a little dry. Finally dessert was delivered in the form of creamy individual rice puddings with salted caramel, pistachios and a crunchy topping.

The amount of food per person was well-balanced and you did not come away thinking that you had eaten too much but were rather comfortably full.

If you like Greek or Middle Eastern food, then you will probably appreciate these offerings as being of good quality. However, the set menu is a bit on the pricey side and the amount of noise alone would be a sufficient deterrent to prevent me from going back again.

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