Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Theo's Greek Tavern (Sandringham) 10/2011

We would never have found this suburban restaurant but for our Greek fish supplier, Johnny, from Ripponlea Fish Supplies. He assured us that this was Greek food as good as it gets in Melbourne. I don't know if he's been to Hellenic Republic, or Philhellene or the Press Club or anywhere for that matter but he's a convincing salesman so we visited Theo's. It's a very pleasant place more or less opposite the train station, at no. 66 at, the appropriately named Station St.There is a decent amount of space between the tables which have table cloths covered with maritime themed paper The walls are decorated with idealized nymph like female figures and mythological scenes.
It was very quiet so we got a lot of very personal attention from both our waiter and Theo and his wife Phylis. The menu, available on the net, has a lot of dips and entrees as well as the regular fish and meat dishes normally served in Greek bistro/cafe restaurants. They also have a $45 banquet which looked like very good value. We decided to have three entrees and two mains. We started with Spanakopita -($12.5) Traditonal Greek filo pastry stuffed with our special spinach and fetta mix.I would have liked a lot more stuffing for the amount of pastry which reduced the enjoyment of the fetta and spinach. We next had Saganaki - ($13.5) Fried Greek Imported Kefalograviera. This was very good, hot and moist inside and crisp outside. Fried Eggplant -($ 12) Eggplant coated in flour then pan fried in olive oil came with a small quenelle of Saganaki dip. This was a simple entree beautifully made. We shared Snapper -($ 28.5) Whole fresh snapper char-grilled and topped with olive oil and lemon juice. So simple but superb because the fish was very fresh, the char grill gave it a lovely smokey flavour and it was not at all dry or over cooked.Their Moussaka -($ 24.5) Layers of baked eggplant, potato, and minced meat topped with bechamel sauce and served with their red sauce. was exquisite. Plenty of eggplant, well cooked, lots of bechamel with fine texture and enough potato and mince to make this a really good dish. We chose to try all the desserts.
Loukoumia Sweet jellied rose-water candy.
Baklava Spiced walnut and almonds wrapped in filo pastry and soaked in honey syrup. Galaktoboureko Traditonal Greek baked custard in filo pastry.
Kahdaifi Spiced nuts topped with finely spun pastry and syrup.
Halva Traditonal Greek cold pudding made from crushed sesame seeds. This turned out to be unfortunate. The halva was just ordinary, the loukoumia was too dry for my taste, the Greek custard topped by a little puff pastry too plain the kahdaifi spun pastry had gone soggy and the honey drenched baklava overwhelmingly sweet.
The entrees had been quite enjoyable, the mains excellent but this spoilt the meal and the memory of it. In all the cooking is simple Greek family style with no nod toward modern cuisine. Spices are straightforward, service is happy and obliging and the food is satisfying. I only wish we had skipped the dessert.
They have a very short and very fairly priced wine list including A few Greek wines. I drank a pleasant ouzo, which anyone could enjoy as long as you enjoy that aniseed taste. Sandra drank a very pleasing Lindemans cab merlot ($8.5/glass).

Score: 13.75/20

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