Last weekend I went to I went to Melbourne to visit my boyfriend and it was hard to say what I was more excited about, seeing him, or the Melbourne food scene! I hadn’t been to Melbourne in ages and it truly is the food capital of Australia. On this visit we went to a number of amazing food places and I think I was in a permanent food coma for most of the trip!
My first night in Melbourne we went into the city for dinner, we put our name down at Chin Chin (which by the way was THE BEST! I’m going to write a post on it very soon!) and had an hour and a half to kill before we would get a table. So we decided to go to Gazi, a place I had been really interested in checking out and it did not disappoint! Not only was their fantastic food, but it was very affordable and the atmosphere was fantastic. So much so that we went twice in two days!
Gazi is owned by George Calombaris, who for the unobsessed is a judge on Masterchef Australia, and is one of a number of restaurants he has in Melbourne. This restaurant proclaims to offer an edgy and eclectic vibe reminiscent of the streets of Athens, producing exciting Greek street food – boy did it deliver!
As soon as you step into Gazi it feels very much alive and bustling. You immediately get a sense of the street food vibe that they are aiming for; the place is packed, everyone is happy and chatting, and the hunger-inducing smell of spit-roasted meat fills the air. But despite this it doesn’t feel crowded and the noise is not overwhelming. We just wanted to sit at the bar and have drinks and dips and the staff were more than welcoming and helpful, seating us immediately despite how full the place was.
We ordered three dips a taramosalata, a sweet potato skordalia with pine nuts and orange and a hommus. The food came out really quickly and servings were very generous. The bread itself was the bread used for souvlaki. It was warm, soft and had a nice light char flavour – and was good enough to eat on its own! The dips themselves were all amazing and impossible to stop eating, we cleaned our bowls!
- The skordalia was impossibly smooth and the sweetness of the sweet potato was nicely balanced by the orange and the lovely toasty flavour of the pine nuts.
- The hommus was also excellent and was topped with aleppo, a capsicum/pepper based spice which gave it a nice hum.
- Finally the tarama, oh my gosh, I cant even begin to explain how good this was! For those that dont know, tarama is a very traditional greek dip made from bread and fish roe and it’s bloody amazing! This tarama though was absolutely perfect, it was lovely and smooth and had this amazingly moreish salty and lemony flavour. I could eat this by the bucket load! It also came with two prawn crackers which I thought was a cute play on the seafood base of the dip and was a nice bit of crunch. I’m seriously salivating thinking about this dip! You MUST eat this!
They also had a great selection of cocktails at Gazi. The cocktail menu was called the cocktail zodiac and there was a cocktail based on and for each zodiac sign. The bar staff were fantastic and very friendly.When I was tossing up between two of the cocktails the bartender combined two of the flavours for me. In the end I had a Virgo cocktail which had Tequila, Plum, Citrus, Soda and then the bartender added a splash of pomegranate syrup, an element from the Leo cocktail. Needless to say, it was delightful!
After such a great time here, we couldn’t resist coming back the next day and making the most of their yummy takeaway menu. We both had a souvlaki, I had the pork one with chips, parsley, onion and tzatziki and the boyf had the chicken souvlaki with chips, parsley, onion and the most amazing mustard mayo!
If you haven’t got the gist by now, I love Gazi! It’s humble food but with so much flavour. The atmosphere it great, the food is amazing, the staff are friendly and attentive and best of all it’s all really affordable. Go to Gazi. Do it!