Food of the Sun
Greek food is defiantly back, but has it really ever been away?
Melbournians lust for new flavours and increased social drinking with great food has bombarded us with so many entertaining options. It's a great challenge for our industry, something the team at Salona, a proud 3rd generation family business has risen too!
Start with the knowledgeable front of house, dressed with smart cool Denim aprons. Well-designed menus with great graphics and enticing options of many authentic & regional dishes at diverse affordable prices!
The service throughout was outstanding without being intrusive or pretentious.
The wine list is friendly with an electric mix of Australian and New Zealand, alongside Greek gems and well-priced carafe options.
My guest chose an unfamiliar pinot. It wasn't to his tastes and was swapped with no issue after various samples of others were provided. We chose a NZ pinot and some Greek rose.
The owner Stavros was humble, charming and knowledgeable. He recited 6 specials perfectly.
The menu was littered with New Greek classics whilst still being familiar. My wife was under strict instructions to stay away from the menu's familiar dishes, so when it comes too ordering what does she order some dips! It got me thinking about the famous movie quote in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "Let me tell you something Toula. The man is the head but the woman controls the neck."
Not to worry there was so much more on offer with this terrific menu!
Like the zucchini and smoked fetta kefte which magically disappeared as quickly as they appeared, yum!
Then we ordered Kotopita a traditional chicken & leek filo pie, a family recipe we were told from the proud front of house.
This dish was certainly made with love and care, a crisp square of comforting chicken moussaka wrapped in flaky pastry.
These dishes started a frenzy of ordering and excitement! Pickled octopus, followed by calamari, followed by whitebait.
This seafood in the wrong hands can be rubbery and sandy like a Santorini beach ball!
All were super fresh and respectfully executed apart from a heavy hand with the smoked paprika in the accompanying aioli.
My non-seafood guest devoured the top notch Saganaki.
Then we ordered a Greek salad and a course of some BBQ meats to share, quail and mixed grill looked great and were worthy of star billing on the menu.
The quail was served has too halves simply dressed with lemon & oregano, whilst the mixed grill was impressively presented on a huge platter. There was a pleasant house made sausage, chicken skewers grilled to a T and generous slices of bbq lamb a la grecque. The lamb was the only let down of the night for me as it was lacking the flavour & texture of authentic charcoal lamb which I've celebrated at other local Athenaeums like the crazy busy Orexi in Oakleigh.
The salad also lacked the detail of the other standout dishes which set a very high standard. The brief pause of celebration was turned around by a round of real Greek coffee!
It was a glorious, rich and viscous coffee you could stand your spoon in, heavenly with classic & perfect moist walnut baklava which was quickly pushed to one side by the seductive Galaktobouriko.
Another authentic treat of just set semolina custard flavoured with orange blossom & layered with honeyed filo pastry so good! This was one of the best desserts I've eaten all year simply perfect!
By now we were on a high of coffee and sugar wishing, it was Friday and retiring to the cocktail bar upstairs!
It was such a great night at Salona, the food and hospitality made us realise why food trends will always come and go, but we will always celebrate Authentic food and culture because of its warmth and unique spirit.
What the Chef's says - Creative Greek food, regional specialities from Cyprus, Crete, Constantinople & Kastelorizo
What Wilson says - Wonderful food you would celebrate in the Greek lisle's, lucky Richmond.
When can we go - Mon to Thurs 5pm - 12am, Fri to Sat - 12noon till late