I think this place needs no introduction, with its iconic terracotta pot ceiling (seriously, how cool is it?)! I actually arrived in Melbourne the day after my birthday. DT and I had already to treat ourselves to a nice night out for dinner, but it ended up being her treating me as a belated birthday celebration!
We had a few options in mind, but upon perusing the menus, it seemed Gazi was the way to go. The menu looked pretty awesome and my friend had gone previously and absolutely loved it!
Getting there on a Sunday night was a bit of a mission though! We stayed in North Melbourne so we decided to take the free city circle tram down to Flinders Street. Sounds pretty simple, right? Wellll, that’s what we thought, before we realised the tram ends at 6pm on Sundays. So we took the one in the opposite direction as that was coming more frequently. But then it terminated at Docklands! Luckily another tram was just arriving which was going all the way around the city one last time. By the time we got to Gazi, we were 25min late but all the more ready to eat.
*Everything* on the menu looked good. The waiter was very helpful in explaining how the menu is set out. In the end, we opted for the 7-dish tasting course as we wouldn’t be here very often so it would give us more to try.
And so began our feast.
First up were the dips and pita bread. I’m a sucker for dips & bread, so I was incredibly excited about this. I loved the tzatziki and how the cucumber was shredded rather than diced. It imparts more of the cucumber’s freshness into the dip. The hummus, whilst a bit salty for me, was amazing! It was incredibly smooth and there was a particular flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on but it definitely made it taste better. The pita was also very nice, chewy and well-toasted. One of the better pitas I’ve had.
Regular readers will probably know I’m not a fan of cheese. There are only a few select cheeses that I would eat, and saganaki is one of them. This came sizzling on a hot cast iron place, doused in honey. The squeeze of lemon definitely cut through the creamy cheese. We risked our mouths and ate this hot, and it was squeaky, chewy and just plain yum. It’s quite creamy, more so than haloumi in my opinion, so I didn’t eat too much of it. It was pretty good paired with the pita and the dips too!
Grain salads have been popping up on my IG stream non-stop in the recent months, so I was quite interested in seeing why it suddenly had such as cult following. What I didn’t expect was to be blown away by how good this was! It was so simple, yet the flavours and the textures were spot-on. The grains were cooked well, and the balance between the spices and the sweetness (from the pomegranate and dried fruit (blueberries?)) was great. Not too sweet, not too spicy. The puffed grains added some crunch, and it wasn’t too oily or anything. Perfect.
We were given the chicken from the wood-fire spit section. The chicken was moist, and had a nice char to it. It was a bit bland, however, so you’d want to eat it with the walnut dressing (which is like a pesto) and the tyrokafteri. Tyrokafteri, by the way, is a red pepper and cheese-based dip. This was under the chicken, and was quite nice and you can taste the creaminess of the cheese. Of course I didn’t know what the “red sauce” was that night, and was like “I taste cheese…but, I don’t see any cheese in this dish!” haha. The beans were a little hard for my liking and they were weirdly cold. I think if they were softer and warm, it would’ve tied everything together better.
The fish for the night was swordfish, which was cooked medium rare. I didn’t know whether it’s supposed to be like this but upon asking the waiter, we were reassured as swordfish tends to be dry and tough when cooked completely. You learn something new everyday! This came with the same walnut dressing as the chicken, but I quite liked it simply with a squeeze of lemon because the fish was nice and fresh.
A plate of chips was also included in the course, sprinkled with feta cheese and oregano. DT liked the idea of using feta to flavour it instead of salt. Feta is a cheese I just can’t eat. I’ve tried it, and hated it so I only took a few pieces of the non-feta-ised pieces. They were fluffy and crunchy! On the rare occasions I eat chips, it’s fat chips FTW! =P
Oh, and the tables are pretty tiny, and 7 dishes made it a bit crowded! See what I mean? haha.
So, after all that food, we were pretty stuffed and ready for bed haha. But then our waiter reminded us of the dessert!
I saw people ordering the pavlova which looks amazing and exactly like what George taught the Masterchef 2014 team! I was pretty sure we were going to get the more iconic Greek dessert as part of the tasting course. The loukomathes (Greek doughnuts) were a diabetes bomb. I personally don’t like doughnuts (wait, is it “donuts”?) much so I only had one. They were really fluffy and definitely not as dense as I expected, and really hot! The nutella and honey are super sweet, much too sweet for me. We left this unfinished, but our bellies were probably thanking us profusely for that.
After the hassle of actually getting here, we both thoroughly enjoyed the dinner. Thank you, DT for the treat! One of the nicer places I’ve had Greek food at, so much that it’s spoiled my standards for pita and hummus! We didn’t taste any of the souvlakakias which is what they’re known for too, but we were pretty satisfied with the dishes we got anyway.
Not that I don’t want to go to Greece already, but if the food is going to be like this (or better!) then all the more reason to go! =P
Thanks for reading! ^^ Have a great day!