Hellenic Republic (Brunswick)
- Pita (Bread)
- Tyri Saganaki (Grilled Cheese)
- Kalamari (Grilled Calamari)
- Aggouri (Cucumber Salad)
- Kotopoulo Psistaria (Chicken From The Spit)
- Mary’S Moussaka
- Arni Sto Fourno (Lamb Shoulder)
- Loukoumades (Greek Doughnuts)
- Tsiskake (Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake)
We started off with the Tyri Saganaki. Served in the signature metal pan, the cheese was beautifully charred on the outer. Stretchy and stringy, the cheese was flavourful without being overly salty. With a beautiful cheesy aroma, this was well complemented by the warm pita and the sweetness of the figs.
The Aggouri was a light and refreshing salad. With an abundance of fresh and crunchy cucumbers, this was well accompanied by a generous amount of puffed black rice, which provided a nice crunch element. All combined with the slight sourness of the black garlic goats curd, it served as a welcome side to all our protein.
Served in a cute cast iron dish, Mary’s Moussaka was a long anticipated dish. The mashed potato on top was cooked to a nice char, exhibiting a beautiful golden brown colour. Hidden underneath was a mixture of soft, wholesome slices of eggplant as well as lamb and veal mince. All combined with a generous amount of nicely melted cheese clinging onto bits of everything, this dish definitely fits the criteria of comfort food for all. However we would’ve preferred the use of stronger spices and herbs within to make the dish even more palatable.
We also enjoyed the Arni Sto Fourno. Slow cooked to perfection, the Lamb Shoulder protein was exceptionally tender and pretty much just fell right off the bone. With a beautifully bold lamb aroma permeating throughout, one could truly appreciate and enjoy an unadulterated piece of flavoursome lamb. Although, just like the Moussaka, we would’ve preferred the more liberal application of spices.
The Kotopoulo Psistaria was rather spectacular. With a nice charring on the outer skin, within was some of the most tender and juicy roast chicken I’ve ever sampled. The liberal application of herbs and spices, which was well marinated in the protein, ensured that each bite was bursting with flavour.
The Kalamari was not as expected to say the least. The use of black squid was not an issue, except for the fact that the sparing pieces didn’t appear to be grilled, both in taste and appearance. The squid lacked charring, which contributed to the overall blandness, and wasn’t as tender as we’d like. The accompanying tomatoes were a nice addition, as was the olive puree, providing much of the flavour for the whole dish. Unfortunately though, the flavours didn’t quite complement the squid.
The Loukoumades served tonight were disappointingly inconsistent. Some doughnuts were overly hard and chewy, with an almost rock hard outer shell and a dense inner. Others had just the perfect fluffy inner enclosed by a crunchy outer. The oily aftertaste was not lost amongst all the honey and cinnamon sugar. These were honestly no better than any corner store fried donut.
We also weren’t overly impressed by the Tsiskake either. Coming deconstructed, the cheese was served on top of a bed of biscuit crumbs. Hidden underneath was a disc of jelly with a hint of peachy fruity sensation. The Greek Yoghurt Cheese itself was pleasant, though unspectacular and just tasted like any ordinary cream cheese with a slight hint of sourness. The biscuit crumbs weren’t overly flavourful either, and, along with the deconstruction, made for some unnecessary and messy chasing-food-around-the-plate action in an attempt to get a bit of everything in a spoonful. Just… why?
Authentic Greek tonight’s meal was not, though the dishes were overall enjoyable yet rather unremarkable. Hellenic Republic used to dish up some of the tastiest and palatable dishes some years ago, namely the Lamb Shoulder and Moussaka, but I guess things have most definitely changed.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Sure. But I won’t be rushing back anytime soon as there are much better authentic Greek offerings around.