I figured Brunswick Street would be a really good place to take two out-of-towners to experience one of those Melbourne food strips. Somehow, and I wasn’t sure how, I decided that we should give Pireaus Blues a try. And we weren’t disappointed.
We decided on the banquet ($38.00 per person). The moment I said to the waiter, ‘we’ll have the banquet, please.’ And his reply was ‘for all four?’ and I nodded I realised we could have ordered just a leetle bit more food than we would have been comfortable eating!
(Greek dips - from front anti-clockwise: tzatziki, melitzanosalata, skordalia, taramosalata)
We started with warm pita bread which was slightly charred and smokey. This made it the more better! It was served with the classic Greek dips: skordalia (potato and garlic), taramosalata (some sort fish roe), melitzanosalata (eggplant) and tzatziki (cucumber and yoghurt).
I took a quick vote and it seemed like the potato dip was the most popular. I personally liked the eggplant best but the potato dip won out by three votes! All the dips were rather good though.
Our next entree was marinated capsicums. They were cut into thin strips and served cold. The dish went rather well with the dips and the pita bread.
Our next entree to arrive was saganaki – which was Kefalotyri cheese fried until golden. It was very creamy and salty. It went beautifully with a squeeze of lemon on the pita bread. It was perfectly fried with the outside sharp and crispy and the inside creamy. Make no mistake though, it was a very strong, salty cheese. We were reaching for drinks after a few bites!
(grilled beef sausages)
By now we were dreading the rest of the meal with me kicking myself for ordering 4 banquets (rather than, say, 3 banquets) and we were dreading how big the mains were going to be when our last entree arrived. That’s right, folks, we’re still on entree here. The sausage slices were grilled to absolute perfection and despite not wanting to fill on up entree we were happily tucking into this dish.
And then we had a bit of a break, which was a welcome. The restaurant was nice and cosy. It was quite full (even though we got there after 9pm) so we sat upstairs. I was eyeing the nice fireplace downstairs and wished we had a seat there!
(mixed grill platter)
Our two mains arrived together. The mains were set out in large platters to share. Our first main was lightly floured calamari which had been fried. The calamari was tender but lightly flavoured and it complemented beautifully with our meaty main, which was a large mixed grill platter – Greek style, of course.
The platter contained four skewers of chicken souvlaki (one for each of us). That was beautifully marinated and grilled.
(lemon lamb, beef rissoles)
The platter contained the slow roasted lemon lamb (pretty much like what I tried to do, except they roasted it much longer and a lot more successful! I made a mental note to roast mine for much longer next time) which was an absolute hit with everyone. The lamb was soft and meltingly lemony. Absolutely divine. The beef rissoles were also very good. Damnit, everything was just so good!
The main also came with a large bowl of Greek salad, perfectly presented and dressed (and we know all about my feelings regarding badly dressed salads, don’t we?) The funny thing was the only trace of carbohydrates in the entire main part of the meal were four small roast potatoes that were tossed in with the platter. Let’s just say main = meat!
(loukoumades – Greek doughtnuts topped with honey, cinnamon and crushed walnuts)
We got another break after the mains. After 20 minutes, however, we were a bit tired and just wanted to have our dessert and go. Our request to bring desserts soon please was ignored for a while. Nearing 11 (pm), our loukoumades arrived. It was a great finish to a very long meal. The loukoumades were crunchy on the outside and doughy and chewy on the inside.
(dessert came with tea/coffee)
By the end everyone was sort of giving up and only had a single loukoumades so all the more for me! Yep, I proudly finished up about four loukoumades after all that food. What can I say? That’s where my talents lie!
Definitely a must try if you haven’t already. And definitely a candidate for our next Greek outing.
Pireaus Blues Greek Restaurant, 310 Brunswick St., Fitzroy, VIC