Korzo Grill House,12/106 Gourlay Rd, Caroline Springs. Phone: 9449 9219
After picking up Nat from his place of employ in Moonee Ponds, we are tootling up the Calder towards the northern part of Caroline Springs.
It’s a sweet drive so we have mucho time for a catch-up.
Inevitably, given the foodie talk of the town in recent days, we eventually turn to the concept of paying $500+ – excluding drinks – for a restaurant meal.
In many ways for me, it’s a matter of noting with detached interest, shrugging and going about my business.
I do, however, think it posits food in the same terrain as a Maserati, a $50,000 watch or queuing up for a week in order to get a new phone.
It’s about snob value and exclusiveness.
Nat nails it:
“I’d much rather be heading into the unknown with you on an adventure such as this!”
Amen to that!
This particular adventure turns out to be an all-round winner, even if we have a pretty good idea of what awaits on account of an earlier visit to a similar establishment in Thomastown.
For me personally, and having come to regard Caroline Springs and neighbouring environs as something of a wasteland, heading this way to find a hot eating place is a thrill.
There’s some uniquely Balkan/Macedonian specialties on the menu … such as two kinds of pleskavia (meat patties with cheese) and selso meso (village hot pot).
But even if it is somewhat predictable, we head for the mixed grill ($55 for two, $28 for one) to speedily get a handle on what the place is about.
It’s very, very good and quite the bargain.
Best are the kebapi (skinless sausages, brought in) and the skinned snags (house-made).
The former are juicy and seasoned just bright; the latter are tightly packed and tangy.
The chicken is good and flavoursome, but a tad dry even when caressed by bacon. That’s what you often get with breast meat.
The rib meat of the pork chops is great, but again the hearts are dry. And again, we know this is difficult, we don’t mind at all and we keep on eating.
The chips are truly memorable and the cabbage salad the perfect foil, as always, for this kind of food.
The capsicum dip works well, but as this food is basically without suaces and gravies – and that’s not a complaint – we get a side of pecini piperki ($$8) to help sluice things along.
Korzo is done out in crisp, casual eatery style.
Incredibly, there’s another place right next door that also does a few Balkan-style dishes, although it also covers bases such as pasta.
We’ve enjoyed the service provided my Melissa; and afterwards we enjoy talking with the boss and cook, Jim.
He tells us that there’s a significant Macedonian community in the Caroline Springs/Hillside/Taylors Lakes area, enough for a foundation for his restaurant.
He’s hoping for a broader audience than that of course, and is billing his food as more generally Balkan rather than specifically Macedonian.
In any case, we’re glad he’s doing his thing.
When we mention the arid chicken and pork, he sighs wearily – he’s heard it all before.
He’s tried thigh meat, but there’s customers who demand breast.
Likewise, his customers are mad for the pork chops.