Melina on the Rooftop

Melbourne has entered into the depth of Winter without a warning, but here I am, still clinging onto rooftop bars. Although it’s nothing like bathing in the Summer sunshine with a cocktail in your hand, there is still something charming about sitting snugly under some heaters with a view. All that is to say, we decided to have dinner at Melina on the Rooftop recently.

Crispy Saganaki Cheese – $18.00

We decided to grabbed a few dishes to graze on, with the first being the crispy saganaki. The crunchy batter on the saganaki added some texture to the soft cheese, and the sweetness from the drizzle of the balsamic glaze paired nicely prevented the saganaki from becoming overly salty.

Fries – $12.00

The shoestring fries was golden brown, and the Greek season on the fries were quite addictive. The feta cheese dip on the side was an interesting addition, although the crumbly texture and the thinness of the fries meant that it wasn’t the easiest to dip in.

Antipasto – $34.00

The antipasto had your usual suspects with a Middle Eastern twist with the addition of some grilled halloumi. The meats were all quite average, with the smoked ham seriously tasting like it was bought from a supermarket deli. It was nothing really worth writing home about altogether. The bread served on the side was also quite dry, and the balsamic glaze drizzled over top seems like more of an afterthought.

There’s no question that the vibe is quite intimate and romantic at Melina on the Rooftop, definitely a place that’s good enough to take a date. That being said though, I did find the food to be quite overpriced, especially considering the portion size. We made a booking on EatClub, which took 30% off our bill, making it quite reasonable. I still think that the food was quite average even after the discount. All in all, Melina on the Rooftop might be better suited for a couple of drinks after dinner than a proper sit-down meal.

How to get here:
Melina on the Rooftop is located on Lonsdale Street, a 5 minutes walk from Melbourne Central.

Melina on the Rooftop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Jimmy Grants

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The Med Diet: 150g Lamb  w/ Tzatziki and Grain Salad – $16.50

My love affair with Jimmy Grants continues, and today, we’re at one of its newer locations at Eastland. Instead of the souva, I went for the Med Diet, because I wanted to finally try the grain salad, but couldn’t commit to just the salad, I know I know, #firstworldproblems.

Anyway, onto the food. The lamb was tender and fell apart at the light prick of my fork, and compared to the souva, it is a lot more simple in flavour, since there is little embellishment. Being a lamb lover, this was right up my alley. If you do find the meatiness of the lamb on the heavy side, then the cooling tzatziki on the side will be your best friend. I can completely understand why people rave about the grain salad, although deceptively uncomplicated, the amount of grains, nuts and herbs meant that the salad was full of both flavour and texture. Although I can’t see myself having this as a full meal, it was the perfect side in this case.

Jimmy Grants always offer up some delicious Greek dishes, and this time it was no different. I’m so glad that there’s finally one that’s sort of close to me!

How to get there:
Jimmy Grants is located in Town Square of Eastland, right opposite Ringwood Station.

Jimmy Grants Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Meat in the Middle

=
The Battle of Troy w/ Extra Pita Bread – $35.00 + $2.00
It’s hard to keep up with the ever changing restaurant scene on Kingsway, being such a busy strip, it doesn’t take long for foodies to decide whether a restaurant is a keeper or not. Meat in the Middle joined the lineup a little over four months ago, and I’ve already seen plenty of photos of their burgers and souvlakis on social media, which meant it was time that I gave it a go myself.

The three of us opted for the biggest platter they had on offer, the Battle of Troy. It had the whole package – char-grilled pork, lamb and chicken; fries; Greek salad; pita bread (we did add an extra one for two dollars); and some good ol’ tzatziki.

Although nothing out of the ordinary, it was a rather satisfying meal. Wrap some meat of your choice, fries and tzatziki up with the soft and pillowy pita bread, and each mouthful was full of flavour.

The meat was well cooked, the fries were super crispy, and really, although not necessarily mind-blowingly good, it definitely sat pretty high on the value for money chart.

The Greek salad was again, up to standard, with fresh ingredients, and a good amount of dressing and feta to go with it.

Service was a bit weird at Meat in the Middle, we asked the waiter if we were given the extra pita bread just to double check, and he clearly had no idea of the answer. After going back to the open kitchen, he came back and told us that there was indeed an extra pita bread, but he will give us one on the house – not in a friendly way, but in a tone that made it sound like we were trying to get extra food for free or something. The free pita bread never made its way onto our table, and this encounter left us feeling a little strange, to say the least.

Service aside, Meat in the Middle does serve up some decent Greek food, but I’ve heard that their burgers aren’t as great, never fear, Yo My Goodness is merely two minutes away if you’re in need for some good burgers.

How to get there:
Meat in the Middle is located on Kingsway, a short five minutes walk away from Glen Waverley station.

Meat in the Middle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gazi

It’s no secret how much I love the souvas from Jimmy Grants, which is why I was delighted when my friend picked Gazi, another restaurant by George, for her birthday lunch. These terracotta pots are a signature decor in Gazi, although creative, I did think that it made the restaurant extra noisy, and made it difficult to have a conversation.
Trio of Dips – $19.00
From left to right: Babaganoush, Taramosalata, Yellow Spit Fava

We ordered three dips to start things off, and they definitely weren’t your ordinary dips! The crowd favourite was the Taramosalata, otherwise known as the fish roe dip. It was rich and creamy, with a hint of acidity, and was morish to eat! If only there was some more pita bread.

Tiganites Palates – $10.00

Mmmmm, I can never say no to these gorgeous fries, accompanied by feta, garlic oil and oregano. There were some of the crispiest chips I’ve had, and I especially love the tiny little crunchy bits!

Soft Shell Crab Souvlakia – $12.00
Duck Souvlakia – $12.00
Chicken Souvlakia – $9.50

Of course we had to order some souvlakias too, souvlakia is a small version of a souvlaki, and although small, these were all very filling. Gazi had more choices of filling, and my friend and I shared the soft shell crab and duck one, because they were the most special haha!

Soft Shell Crab Souvlakia – $12.00

The soft shell crab souvlakia had everything I was hoping for. Crunchy deep fried soft shell crab, soft pillowy pita bread, plenty of mayo and a sprinkle of fresh herbs – I did take the coriander out since I’m not a fan – seriously, every mouthful was amazing.

Duck Souvlakia – $12.00

The duck souvlakia was equally delicious. When I first saw that the duck was deep fried too, I was worried that it would be too dry, but the meat was still really tender, but with a crispy exterior.

Chips was part of the filling too, to add even more crunch. The pear really helped to cut through the richness of the duck, and the mustard mayo and parsley completed the package. I love how the two souvlakias had different sauces and herbs, it really goes to show how much attention was paid to the details.

Bombe Metaxa – $18.50

Because it was a birthday lunch, we had to end it on a sweet note. And the theatrical Bombe Metaxa, with a fire and all, was perfect for the occasion.

Underneath all the meringue, was some chocolate ice cream and tsoureki – a dense and sweet bread. Although there was nothing to fault with each element, it did become way too sweet for us to finish, especially because of the sheer amount of meringue.

There’s a lot of things I did like about Gazi, the souvlakia, the chips, the evil eye plates. However, I’m not sure if I like the ambience of the restaurant, it was very loud, and service can be a bit of a hit and miss. Also, don’t know if it’s just the time we visited, but the crowd was quite a bit older than us, mostly groups in their 30s and 40s, which I did not expect.

How to get there:
Gazi is located on Exhibition Street, 10 minutes walk from Flinders Street Station.

Click to add a blog post for Gazi on Zomato

Jimmy Grants

Bear with me while I slowly explore the Cafe Court of Emporium, and omg, anyone else pumped about the opening of Din Tai Feng later this year?!
Anyway, back to today’s post. I decided to go with an old favourite, Jimmy Grants. It’s the only restaurant of the all-so-famous George Calombaris enterprise I’ve visited, but ever since I tried out Jimmy Grants in Fitzroy early last year, I’ve added Hellenic Republic and the newly established Gazi onto my never-ending wish list.
Mr Papadoupolos: lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onions, parsley | $9.50

The souvas are definitely on the smaller side of things, but they’re still pretty darn filling. I love the mustard aioli, it’s a saviour for the lamb, which was a bit dry. The pita bread is as soft and pillowy as ever,  and the parsley added a hint of freshness to the otherwise rich souvlaki.

Chips, garlic oil, feta, oregano | $7.00

A lot of my friends claim this to be the best chips ever, I don’t about it being the best, but it certainly is in the top three. Get a chip, dip it in some of that feta, and you’ll be in heaven. I’ve been lucky enough that each time I’ve ordered these chips, they’ve been freshly fried, and I hope it stays that way, because otherwise it just won’t be the same!

Is this the best souvlaki place around town? Possibly. But yeh, high expectations don’t work in your favour sometimes, so just take a step back, and enjoy some of that perfectly golden chips, ignore what the doctor says about high cholesterol , chips with feta everyday will keep them at bay.

How to get there:
Jimmy Grant is located in the Cafe Court in Emporium, level 3.

Jimmy Grants Emporium on Urbanspoon

Stalactites

Stalactites is known for serving up souvlaki when people need it the most, i.e. 5am on a Saturday morning. I never actually got around to try it out, until recently when I visited a friend, and her apartment was just one block down from Stalactites, so we decided to go there for dinner. She told me that every time she walks past the restaurant, it’s buzzing with people both dining in, and waiting for take out souvlaki, so clearly it’s not a place that’s only frequented by people needing a hangover cure.

Mixed dips | Clockwise from the top: tzatziki, hommus, tarama (caviar & lemon) and melizanosalata (eggplant & garlic) – $9.00

We wanted to try a few new dips, but still have some old favourites, which meant that the selection of mixed dips was perfect. The tzatziji and hommus were quite standard, but the stand out for me was the eggplant dip, I loved how distinct the earthy flavour of the eggplant was!

Pita Bread – $1.70 each

Of course we needed some pita bread for the dips, these were nothing special, but sometimes that’s exactly what you’re after.

Mixed Giro Platter | Marinated spring lamb and chicken from the spit (L) – $29.00

One of the girls didn’t eat lamb, so we decided to get the mixed platter. The portion was pretty reasonable, and the chicken was a lot more tender than I expected, although there was some dry pieces in the mix as well, but I guess that’s just to be expected.

Mixed Giro Platter | Marinated spring lamb and chicken from the spit (L) – $29.00

I’ve always been a huge fan of lamb, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed the lamb more than chicken in this platter. The marinade made the lamb quite flavoursome, dip it in a bit of melitzanosalata, and it will completely hide the dryness of some pieces 😉

Bowl of chips (L) – $7

The chips were thick cut, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, I wish they were served with chicken salt though, ahhh chicken salt.

Greek Garden Salad (L) – $11.50

We ordered some greens to make sure that we were having a nice and balanced meal (not). The salad was lacking in dressing, but I enjoyed the big chunks of feta, I remember back in the days I hated olives and feta, time really is a curious thing hey.

Stalactites

The food was decent at Stalactites, but the environment was a bit too hustle and bustle considering how much you were paying for the meal, it definitely isn’t a place that you can chill and just chat for hours after you finished eating. The wait wasn’t too bad for us, maybe around 10 minutes to get a table, but there were people lining up for tables throughout our entire meal, so this place is obviously very popular. I’m not in a rush to go back and try out the souvlaki, since I’ve already found one that I’m very fond of that’s a lot closer to home – a food truck at Caribbean Market in case you’re wondering – but at least I’ll have a place other than Maccas to eat at next time I’m stuck in city for the whole night.

How to get there:
Stalactites is on Lonsdale Street, 10 minutes walk away from Melbourne Central.

Stalactites Greek Restaurant on Urbanspoon