Hellenic Republic Kew
George Calombaris’ Hellenic Mark Two in Kew continues in its Brunswick East cousin’s successful formula of simple Greek tavern style food for a new era. Like its predecessor, the flavours here are assured and uncomplicated, although - perhaps in keeping with the east-side locale - the atmosphere is a little more subdued. The service, under charming industry stalwart Ari Vlassopoulos, is switched-on and genuinely convivial, while Greek pop music and approachable native wine matches add to the breezy Mediterranean authenticity of the dining experience.
Many of the classic Hellenic dishes that we’ve fallen for, like the mixed grain salad, grilled saganaki with peppered figs and silky white tarama have made the trek across the Yarra. The airy, bi-level interior has had a modest refit, sidestepping the more rustic features of its northside sibling in favour of bold gestures, such as a series of large frescoes recreating the poster art of classic Greek films of the ‘60s and ‘70s including Zorba the Greek.