Hellenic Hotel, 28 Ferguson Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9393 1000
Yes, the new George Calombaris establishment in Williamstown is up and running.
The “soft opening” Consider The Sauce attends is loosely dedicated to “media”. It follows one the previous night for family and friends and will be followed the next night by another for locals.
Star Weekly reporter Benjamin Millar documents the action.
I enjoy running into a few pals, but each invitee has chosen their own timetable and there is no communal seating, so this just like a busy (normal) night and plays a dual role of fine-tuning the restaurant and its food.
My dining companion, Star Weekly sales gun Rochelle Loney, and I go for the “Feed Me” set menu that retails for $49.
In some ways, this is a bit lazy of us and I later regret not taking the opportunity to explore the a la carte menu in more depth.
But it does make things easy for us – and, besides, what we are served is very much the kind of thing I suspect many-perhaps-most customers here will want.
What we get is pretty much plain, straight-up Greek food – and I say that as no criticism.
It all ranges, in my opinion, from good to very good to outstanding.
Warmed Mount Zero olives – lovely.
In my world, the paler and less fishy is taramosalata the better it becomes.
This is a luscious verging-on-white delight served with slightly fluffy chargrilled pita bread.
The black sesame lavosh and granny smith slices and puree top the saganaki with elan.
But the saganaki is just OK – maybe it’s simply not my thing.
The HH grain salad with pulses, nuts and herbs is a cool, moist and topped with creamy smoked yogurt.
“Heirloom” carrots with fenugreek and almonds are sweet and flavoursome.
The Hellenic Hotel rotisserie chicken …
Normally, I’d expect to see greater depth of colour and way more turbo-charged seasoning.
But this is superb.
Of the two pieces we are presented, I get that with the breast meat.
To my great happiness, it is moist and delicious – which speaks highly of the quality of the chook and the skill with which it has been cooked.
Greek rice pudding – risogalo – is topped with rhubarb and candied pistachios.
It’s a fine way to complete our meal. I like that its sweetness is restrained.
Consider The Sauce will visit Hellenic Hotel again soon to see how the $15 upstairs bar daily specials shape up!
Calombaris social media manager Danielle Poulos with Mandy and Sammi from Mama Knows West.