Unlike the usual “Local Knowledge” candidates, Alevri isn’t a decades-old institution, a community club, a homely family eatery or Sydney’s lone representation of a cuisine. It’s a new, heavily branded cafe that serves brunch, baklava cheesecake and maybe the world’s only moussaka in a pie (that’s pie stuffed with moussaka). One of the owners is a hospitality veteran who introduced tella ball milkshakes to the world. We’re here because every day, seemingly all day, it’s packed, and most of the patrons are Greek.
Owners Aki and Kathy Daikos wanted to replicate the mood, menu and pastry offerings of modern Greek cafes. Not the copper-pot-brewed coffee and cigarettes-until-nightfall kind of place, but a new-school joint. “Our ideas came from travelling in Greece [and visiting] all the top cafes in Athens and Thessaloniki, where I’m from. We want it to feel like being in Europe,” says Aki.
So, while you can still get a bitter Greek coffee brewed in a sand bed, the freddo cappuccinos (like an iced cappuccino, usually served sweet) and Greek frappes (a sweet, foam-covered Greek Nescafe brew) are the far more common orders. “These are really popular in Greece in summer,” Aki says.
In the pastry cabinet you’ll find strawberry tarts, eclairs and cream puffs, but also old-fashioned items Aki remembers from family trips to Thessaloniki – such as galaktoboureko (flaky custard pie), Greek-style baklava, karidopita (a dense walnut cake), doughnuts and much more.
The savoury selection is just as comprehensive. The most important of all, Aki says, is the peynirli, a pide-like pastry that’s filled with cheese, meat, egg or a mix of the above. There’s also spanakopita, but Alevri’s version is made Thessaloniki-style: heavy, doughy and dense, and rolled so it looks like a fat snake. (You can also get the flaky pie version in large trays to take away).
There’s also an array of pies: prasopita with leek and feta, mince-filled kreatopita, and Aki’s favourite, the goat-cheese kaseropita.
If you want an old-school experience, check out the brunch spread. The platter comes with boiled eggs, slices of raw tomato, cucumber, olives, salty cheese, bread and cured meats – the sorts of things Greek people have been eating for breakfast for centuries.
Everything is made in-house, including the filo pastry, which is rare because it’s so laborious to make. It’s details like this that make us suspect we’ll see more Alevri cafes popping up across the city. The duo have already announced a second outlet, this time at Roselands Shopping Centre.
260 Wardell Road, Dulwich Hill
(02) 8577 9761
Monday to Sunday 7am–8pm
This is another edition of Broadsheet’s Local Knowledge weekly series, where Nick Jordan explores the eateries at the heart of Sydney’s different cultural communities. Read more here.