In May 2019, the site of the former casual fine diner Charlick’s reopened as Yiasou George. The space is licked with aqua-green, blue and white paint; and the cooking is just as Mediterranean as the colour scheme.
It’s not solely Greek, as the name might suggest, drawing on Italian, French and Middle Eastern influences too: crisp fried quail adorned with rose petals, say, or potato gratin (deceptively listed on the menu as “roast potato”) with comte cheese.
Yiasou George’s atmosphere is more friendly neighbourhood diner than slick CBD restaurant, with taverna-style hospitality from warm, laidback waitstaff who are likely to pour you a free shot of ouzo when the evening shifts into gear.
The menu revolves around the wood-fired oven, which fires at 400 degrees. Out of it comes fall-apart lamb shoulder, slow roasted pork belly, king prawns, charred veggies, whole barramundi and soft, steamy pita. Tear the pita apart and swipe through ramekins of taramasalata, hummus and baba ghanoush.
The showstopper is the quail: it’s de-boned, butterflied, and brined for an hour before a stay in the fridge overnight. It then gets a double coating of wet-flour batter and a dry-flour mix. Then it’s fried and slathered with a sweet and spicy butter sauce and tossed through roasted sesame seeds and rose petals. It’s a must-get.
Dessert, if you make it there, might take the form of golden loukomades (deep-fried dough balls) with cinnamon and honey custard, white-coffee parfait with caramelised filo pastry, or a kitsch chocolate terrine with fig brandy and whipped cream rosettes. There’s also a first-class wine list with minimal intervention producers from here and interstate including Jauma, Ochota Barrels and WA’s Brave New Wine.