There are two things you notice when you first walk into George Calombaris’ new venture, Gazi. The first is the amazing ceiling – ceramic pots placed across the whole surface. The second are the aromas coming out of the open kitchen. You know you’re in for a treat when it smells so good!
On the nights I’ve been to Gazi (and it has been more than once!) the atmosphere has been buzzing and the food has been excellent. The menu is inspired by tasty Greek street food, but I have to say, having been to Greece, the food was better than anything I had over there!
What I loved, was that the menu provides a great selection of different types of dishes. You can try things that are more traditional or take a leap of faith and try something different. The menu is broken into several sections – smaller dishes under the amusing banner of Hellenic Dirty Food, a range of traditional and not so traditional souvalakis, items from the Grill or Spit, and a selection of vegetables/grains/pulses.
A must have are the homemade dips. The ones I’ve tried are flavoursome and if you’re not careful you’ll fill up before you know it. There are the more traditional dips such as Tzatziki, Spinach and Feta, and Taramosalata but then there are a few with a twist such as the Miso melitzanosalata which is a miso eggplant dip. The accompanying bread is soft and lightly grilled. A great starter to kick off your meal.
A few additional small dishes such as Saganaki, Grilled eggplant, Short rib Moussaka were also tasty and were enough to share between a small group if you wanted something in addition to the dips.
I have to say that the epitome of the meal is the Souvlakakia – Souva for short. This is not something that’s new to the dining scene, but there is something about these particular souvas that I like. I think it’s partly the bread used to wrap the tasty souva filling, or whether it’s the filling itself. With four different fillings – chicken, beef brisket, softshell crab and duck – you can definitely find one to suit your palate. The souva also has a few sneaky chips in it that gives the filling extra crunch and texture. I’m more a traditionalist, so I’ve tried the chicken souva and also the beef brisket souva.
If souva is not your thing or you’re wanting a bit more, then make sure you check out one of the items from the spit. The pork belly came with a wonderful crispy skin, white beans and apple skordalia.
If, after all that, you still have room, you have to try one of the amazing desserts. The Pavlova is presented as a pretty domed sweet, decorated with multicoloured petals and sugar sprinkles. Whilst it looks heavy, the dome is thin meringue and on the inside is mastic, ruby red grapefruit curd and cream. It’s actually quite light and refreshing. The Acropolis Now is a picturesque blood orange mousse in the form of a column reminiscent of that from the Acropolis, surrounded by coffee and mastic.
The wine list is extensive with a great range from Australia and Greece. If cocktails take you fancy, then make sure you try the “I heard it from the Grapevine” cocktail which is suitable for 4-6 people and comes in a beautiful glass jar with a tap to pour into uniquely delicate glasses. Sip on this over the course of the evening as you devour your tasty Greek food.
I have to say that Gazi is more than just street food. It’s stylish and absolutely worth a visit! With a great menu at reasonable prices, you get good bang for your buck eating here.
For more information or to book, visit www.gazirestaurant.com.au