Philip Vakos is one of the few ex-Masterchef contestants making his mark on the Melbourne food scene. After a successful stint on the 2010 series, Vakos moved to Melbourne to continue his foodie dream, opening Bahari with his partner Heleena Alatsas and good friend Stell Kaponas.
Bahari means “spice”. Vakos puts his own twist on traditional Greek food, dubbing it “Gringlish” in reference to his use of Aussie produce. Flitting between the kitchen and front-of-house, Vakos plays with the dishes on offer and changes them weekly.
All food is designed for sharing. Starters include homemade dips, saganaki and chargrilled octopus with ouzo. Slow-roasted lamb shoulder, pulled pork and a range of Greek skewers and souvlakis make up the proteins, served alongside salads such as the pantzarosalata – a beetroot salad with spinach, mint, roasted walnuts, crumbled feta and yoghurt.
Dessert specials have included a halva cheesecake with toasted hazelnuts and poached figs in rakomelo (a Greek honey liqueur); and a capsicum and feta crème brûlée. Expect a large range of Greek wines and beers on the drinks list – as well as ouzo if you’re that way inclined.