Medusa Greek Meze in the CBD is a great example of the liveliness and conviviality of Greek cuisine. It is run by restaurateur Peter Koutsopoulos and his family. Head chef Pantelis Paretas is a native of Kalimnos and has added a traditional Greek twist to the Australian breakfast menu. The dinner menu sticks to classic Greek dishes. Just about everything on the menu is handmade. Paretas’ colleague, Crete-born Michalis Tzanakakis, is employed only to make gyros (pronounced “yi-ros”) which he did in Greece for more than 30 years.
Manager Aleca Koutsopoulos describes the meze process: “Meze means ‘small sharing plates’,” she says. “In Greece, you wouldn’t sit down with other people and order a meal to yourself; you’d choose a few things and put them in the middle of the table.”
If you sit down with an Ouzo or a glass of Peloponnese wine, consider ordering the htapodi xythato (marinated octopus), the dolmathakia (stuffed vine leaves) or the Ouzo prawns.
For something hearty, try the gyros on an open plate: a good value, slow-cooked meat dish presented traditionally on a platter. “Our chef makes everything from scratch. He carefully wraps the vines leaves for the dolmathes and the seafood is fresh from the fish markets,” says Aleca. “In the morning he comes in and marinates the meat by hand and threads it on to the rotisserie.”
The cafe is designed to look like a Greek-style taverna. Blue doors, striped awnings and whitewashed walls evoke Mediterranean islands. The outside eating area captures enough natural light for it to feel pleasantly sunny and warm, not commonly seen in a CBD cafe; ideal for long afternoons with a bougatsa (custard pastry) and a custom blend Toby’s Estate coffee.
Here, the taste is of Greece: the wine comes straight from the Peloponnese, and the olive oil is produced by the Koutsopoulos’ grandparents in Greece.
Medusa Greek Meze
4/31 Market Street, Sydney (Enter via 111 York Street)
Mon & Tue 7.30am–5pm
Wed to Fri 7.30am–10pm