Ayhan Erkoc and Federico Perez Lopez believe that dining out should feel just like eating in your family home. That’s just what the co-owners (both ex-Panama Dining Room and Feast of Merit) have tried to create at Cotham Dining – a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in the former site of George Calombaris’s Hellenic Republic in Kew.
That home-style comfort starts with the feed-me menu – which changes daily depending on what they both feel like cooking. Erkoc and Perez Lopez’s respective Turkish and Colombian heritage also inform a globetrotting menu. Dishes such as hummus with puffed grains and generous beef tartare with harissa and vegetable crisps are close to Erkoc’s heart. For Perez Lopez, it’s the arepa (Colombian corn bread) with barbequed onion, ricotta and pico de gallo.
For entree, a highlight might be veal-tongue kebab with fragrant aji amarillo mayo. Mains are sized for sharing, and might include crisp-skinned rotisserie porchetta with grilled kale-and-grape salad or hulking slow-roasted lamb shoulder. For dessert, you might go for pistachio ice-cream with kataifi (shredded pastry), which almost emulates the ceiling above.
Cocktail-wise, expect native Australian ingredients with a seasonal touch; the Collins features Poor Toms gin with rosé and current seasonal star, rhubarb. The star, a smashable spicy Marg, is a mix of Ghost and Corazon Blanco tequila, mango and agave.
The space is bright and spacious, with exposed brick and whitewashed walls – and a lot of greenery, including a large wall panel of spongy moss. The recognisable, undulating thatched-look ceiling details remain, fitting with the pair’s desire for a rustic, casual dining space.
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