When I hear the word Greek I think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It is a good family movie, which will always make you laugh. Lots and lots of food is a huge part of the Greek culture. I hadn’t eaten much of the cuisine until last week when we all dined at Stavros Tavern in Melbourne.
Stavros opened his restaurant in 1979 and has been running it for thirty-four years. It is a family business offering real traditional Greek food. As soon as you walk through the door you feel you are part of the family. The staff are extremely friendly and attentive, particularly Stavros who is quite the comedian. Isn’t his moustache impressive?
We chose the banquet menu. A selection of house dips and antipasto including pickled octopus, marinated pulses and roasted vegetables are served with home made breads. I liked the dips consisting of melitzanosalata (eggplant), taramosalata (caviar) and tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber). The soda bread was a bit of a let down however we couldn’t go past the pita bread.
Saganaki – a skillet of fried cheese was devoured in seconds! Definitely a favourite!!
Next came a generous plate of tender deep fried kalamari. Each ring of octopus was perfectly cooked. I loved the smaller pieces, which were nice and crispy!
The baked prawns with feta were cooked in a lovely rich tomato sauce. Superb!
I especially liked the fish of the day, which was laid on a mound of rice and topped with spinach. The fish was delicate and juicy.
The Greek village salad tasted as good as it looked. Seasoned well with a giant slice of feta on top.
“Ian’s a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.”
“What do you mean he don’t eat no meat…. that’s ok I make lamb!”
We indulge in a meat platter of spit roast lamb and chicken. The meat was extremely tender and juicy. A side of roast rosemary and garlic potatoes was a perfect accompaniment. I mentioned to the waiter how much I enjoyed the lamb and he said they start cooking it on coals at two in the afternoon. They also buy the best quality meat and not the stuff seen on the rotisserie at Kebab shops.
When you think you are full dessert platters featuring a selection of pastries and fresh seasonal fruit are too tempting to resist. I enjoy a slice of baklava however I prefer the Lebanese kind, which has more pastry and less filling. The diamond of Galaktobourek (custard pastry) was filled with a firm centre of custard. Slices of watermelon and cherries were refreshing to end our meal.
I recommend Stavros Tavern to anyone who wants a fun night with delicious food. We all walked out of the restaurant with big smiles on our faces. ‘Opa!’