Tuesday, September 8, 2015

David Tsirekas Dinner @ Hellenic Republic Kew

26 Cotham Rd, Kew ph  (03)  9207 7477

I was very fortunate to be invited to the special David Tsirekas event a Hellenic Republic Kew a few weeks back.  The Hellenic Republic restaurants are a favourite of mine, since I love the inventive twists to Greek food they come up with, and they are a very kid-friendly group of eateries in general.  

The room was packed to the rafters with guests.  After everyone was seated, a curtain pulled back to reveal an open kitchen, where George Calombaris, David Tsirekas, Travis McAuley (executive chef, Hellenic Republic), Arron Lynch (head chef Hellenic Republic) and Alex Xinis (head chef, Hellenic Kew) worked their magic preparing dishes under the fascinated eyes of their captive dinning audience.  

David (of Perama and Xanthi) from Sydney is a friend of George Calombaris and their easy camaraderie was sweet and clearly reflected their respect for each other's skills, and the opportunity to hear David's tales of his experiences was both heartwarming and fascinating. 

I was expecting a 4 course dinner, but in fact it was a 4 part dinner with 13 different dishes, each one created by one of the chefs.  The dishes were wonderful fusion dishes merging Greek origins with interesting new elements, some with surprising combinations, some with a touch of whimsy, but all with great thought and amazing execution.


We started with David's Tarama churros, latholemono, a savoury churro, a fabulous Greek take on the Spanish "donut".

The Smoked bone marrow, beetroot, feta, horseradish by George was probably my favourite dish of the night.  I love marrow, but this dish took it to the next level with its amazing flavour as well as it's pretty-as-a-picture presentation.  The chefs joked about the amount of work it took to clean and prepare the marrow and bones, and I am sure it's absolutely no joke!

The Ouzo cured ocean trout, Jerusalem artichoke, cucumber by Arron Lynch  was another beautifully presented dish.  I don't love ouzo but what it does for the trout is pretty awesome.

The Sheftalies, tahini yoghurt, caper leaves by Travis was more of what I usually expect of Greek food.  The meat was perfectly cooked and the yoghurt gave it the tang that elevated this dish to sensational.

The kefalograviera saganaki by Alex Xinis was a wonderful version of the traditional dish.  I love, love, love those caramelised grapes!


We watched the chefs dish up the Seafood kokoretsi, skordalia by David Tsirekas with fascination.  In essence a seafood filled roll with a crispy pastry, the crunchy outer shell contrasted wonderfully with the delicious and luscious seafood it encapsulated.

George Calombaris' Tartare of tuna with all its frills, prawn crackers was a fun dish clearly coming from the cheeky side of the chef.  The individual components of the tartare was served up separately with a bag of prawn crackers, and once mixed you eat it in the cracker.  It got all the guests at our table talking and giggling like kids.

I loved Alex Xinis' Melitzanosalata - I love eggplant in general, and the dish really showcased the fabulous versatility in texture and tastes you get get with the humble eggplant.


Each of the dishes were shared by 4 of us at the table, but by this stage I was honestly wondering how I would be able to finish all the food that were to come.  The duck and quince by David Tsirekas made it easy for me to "exercise"..... my ability to stretch my stomach to accommodate more food!  The sweet and tangy sauce perfectly balanced the duck meat that had been cooked to perfection.

The wagyu tongue and flat iron kalamaki by Tavis McAuley was grilled nicely and full of flavour, not your average meat on a skewer!

And then came Arron Lynch's Lahanosalata.  I am a big kid and I never liked Brussels sprouts, but these were so delicious that I have been ordering sprouts more and more when I go out (next step is learning how to cook it so that it's THIS flavoursome!)  The salad could easily be eaten as a meal itself.


No meal is complete without sweets for me!  David's Touloumba, warm rosewater custard, honeyed walnuts was a traditional and comforting dessert with a lovely custard....

....whilst the "Magnamopolous" - Greek yoghurt ice cream, caramelia, mastic, fruit was another one of George's marvellously fun creations, a tilt of the hat to Australia's favourite Magnum, with a slap of Greek pride and a wonderful tangy twist with the use of frozen yoghurt and fruit.

The dinner costs diners $95 per head for the night, and even though I was there by invitation, we all agreed that for that amount of high quality food and free flowing drinks and ouzo, the meal was definitely value for money.  My kidlets love George's cook book for kids and I bought a signed copy to surprise them in the morning.  They ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the photos of the food I had and I had to promise to bring them back soon for another meal, and of course they were jealous of my photo with George, haha.

Filming for Masterchef had just concluded and we were all amazed at the amount of energy George has, as he had a packed international schedule on top of organising this top notch dinner.  I will have to organise to come with Hubby the next time as I have no doubt he would enjoy a similar great night out. 

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Disclaimer : Eat.Play.Shop. attended the David Tsirekas dinner by invitation of Made Establishment and Hellenic Kew.  Opinions are my own.