GAZI

2 Exhibition St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
http://www.gazirestaurant.com.au/
So apparently I thought that we would just be able to waltz into Gazion a Friday afternoon, without a booking, and get a table for two. In my defence, I keep forgetting that full time work means that we can no longer get to dinner at 5:30. And c’mon, George Calombaris isn’t THAT popular, is he?
Photo courtesy of http://www.australiandesignreview.com/interiors/34950-gazi-march-studio
If you’re familiar with two of Georgie’s other restaurants, you’ll soon realise that Gazi sits smack bang in the middle of Jimmy Grantsand Hellenic Republic. Fancier than souvlakis but earthier than garlic-encrusted scallops, Gazi embraces the concept of Hellenic Dirty Food – messy, delicious street food made to share. This comfortable space is a much more laid-back replacement for The Press Club, and is undeniably stylish, even if it was excruciatingly loud at points. But hey, that just means everybody’s having a good time, right?
Pastitsio Kroketa ($3.5ea)
Pastitsio Kroketa ($3.5ea)
We’ve sampled a lot of croquettes in our days, from the korokke of Japan to the croqueta of Spain, and now, the Pastitsio Kroketa ($3.5ea) of Greece. Instead of being filled with mashed potato or béchamel sauce, the carb of choice inside these crispy little bundles is a much drier macaroni, mixed with a small amount of beef and pork mince. It would’ve been a bit on the bland and crusty side, if it weren’t for the generous flurry of goat’s cheese, and dollops of spicy, zesty mayo. (Luckily, the meal was all upwards from this point)
Miso Eggplant Dip ($9.5)
Tzatziki is all well and good, but ever since the amazing cod roe dip I sampled at Hellenic Republic, nothing else could compare. Still, I had heard some fantastic things about the Miso Eggplant Dip ($9.5), and a foodie’s curiosity is a very strong force indeed. Though unusual, this was a fusion of flavours that worked. Its flavour was a delicate culmination of pulpy eggplant, and a robust yet sweet miso paste. But nothing, I repeat, nothing can beat Georgie’s amazing pita bread and all its smoky, crisp fluffiness. 
Angus Eye Fillet ($13.5, 100g)
Angus Eye Fillet ($13.5, 100g)
The Angus Eye Fillet ($13.5, 100g) was a fine example of meat on a stick. The fat chunks of steak were charred on the outside, whilst leaving the innards pink and juicy. The walnut dressing drizzled over it was a crisp and nutty experience, bridging the flavours of the beef with the sweet, blood-red beetroot sauce. 
Yellofwin Tuna ($18.5, 180g)
Compared to the steak, the Yellowfin Tuna ($18.5, 180g) looked downright bland, the two pale fillets resting demurely alongside its simple garnishes. Then I took a bite, and the flavours absolutely blew me away. Seared on the grill, the quick burst of heat left the melt-in-mouth texture intact, but imparted a robust smokiness to the already buttery fish. 
Queensland Blue Pumpkin ($12.5)
Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, we were served our accompaniment of Queensland Blue Pumpkin ($12.5). This beautifully presented salad immediately became the side dish of my dreams. Starting with a hearty base of charred pumpkin wedges, their honey sweetness was then tempered with thick dollops of tangy goat’s curd, and a leek salad that harboured a crisp bite. Finished off with a tumble of syrupy currants and chestnuts, this salad was an amazing concoction of flavours and textures that absolutely blew my mind.
Not that I’m an expert on ethnic food, but I think that to retain the distinctly native flavours, the food should be allowed to remain simple and unpretentious. And that’s exactly what’s so great about Gazi – it’s no more, and no less than classic Greek food done well. Bravo, Georgie!
Rating: 15.5/20 – georgie porgie pudding and pie.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

Gazi on Urbanspoon

CBD  European  Greek  Impress Your Date ($30-$45) 



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