Very sweet Greek

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Marko’s Greek Kitchen Bar, Shop 13/71-79 Kororoit Creek Road, Williamstown. Phone: 7013 0470

We’d eaten Greek at this specific address – located in Rifle Range Shopping Centre – but then things changed.

A whole lot of things changed, actually.

The virus came along.

And somewhere along that way, the place underwent a change of name.

And changes of personnel and, we suspect, management.

And the food changed – going from good/basic to something truly great, something to be adored.

Here’s how it unfolded for us …

Marko’s became one of a handlful of places across the inner west at which we regularly engineered lockdown picnics as a way of enjoying eatery food while eating-in was strictly a no-no.

And our orders were always the same: The combo deal of a basic souvlaki upgraded for an extra $5 with a serve of chips and a can of soft drink.

Bonza deals, packed neatly into carboard containers and swiftly transported to nearby Jawbone Reserve and equally swiftly consumed.

Consumed with ear-splitting grins.

Now we’re back for a sneaky eat-in lunch to see if our lockdown lunch joy holds up in a less stringent regulatory environment.

Yep, it sure does.

This is not mere takeaway food – it’s really excellent Greek tucker.

We’re well used to finding the best chips going around frequently come from eateries of various Mediterranean persuasions.

Marko’s is an upholder of that tradition.

The souvlakis are simply superb and simplicity itself.

These are not massive, two-fisted monsters, but real souvlakis of Greek tradition.

Toasted, Greek-style pita, garlic/yoghurt sauce, lettuce, tomato, onions and a few chips.

And the meat.

Ah, yes – the meat.

Each and every time we’ve visited over a couple of years now, we’ve reveled in lamb that is simultaneously crusty, salty and tender.

So wonderful!

We’re tempted to ascribe this meaty marvellousness to the fact we often seem to be the day’s first customers, therefore lucking into meat that has been exposed to the flame for a good while.

But, really, it’s happened so often, it’s probably wiser to conclude that these folks really, really know what they’re doing.

Meanwhile, we keep telling ourselves that the compact but alluring range of house-made cakes/slices/treats will have to wait until next time!

Aksaray Turkish Kebab House/Stephz Gourmet Deli


Aksaray Turkish Kebab House

74 Glengala Rd, Sunshine. Phone: 9310 1377

Stephz Gourmet Deli

64 Glengala Rd, Sunshine. Phone: 9364 7488

Having scoped this west Sunshine place out, unhungry, a few nights previously, I hold no great expectations on entering Aksaray for lunch – maybe a nice Turkish kebab plate: meat, salad, rice, dip, bread.

That changes as soon as I walk through the door and am immediately served a sample of a freshly made soup – as is every customer who follows me –  free of charge.

It’s a fantastic vegetable concoction – just carrot, onion, celery and seasonings of pepper, salt, oregano. It’s blended just right – well short of being a creamy soup, leaving some grainy texture that gives it substance. Marvellous!

Turns out this is the start of a major overhaul of the offerings available at Aksaray – an overhaul I suspect will make it far more interesting than just another kebab/dips joint.

In a few weeks time they’ll be unveiling a revolving lineup of soups, casseroles, stews and more home-style Turkish food – and I reckon that’s exciting.

For all that we love the normal restaurant fare of our various Mediterranean eateries, we all know it’s just one aspect of the various cuisines involved – eatery food and home food is different.

Bring it on – I’ll be there with my bib on!

My adana kebab lunch platter doesn’t reach the same heights as the soup, but does the job.

Chewy lamb adana is overshadowed by the strips of doner kebab provided usasked for; nice rice, tabouli that is of my preferred wetness, OK bread, slightly fried.

The star is the cacik – a creamy yogurt dip zingy with garlic and chunky with cucumber.

As I’m enjoying my lunch a steady parade of regulars comes and goes, many leaving with kebab sandwiches to go, many with lovely looking boreks of chicken or lamb, all having sampled the super soup.

The chicken borek ($3) I take home for the night’s dinner is brilliant, the shredded chook stuffing subtlety flavoured with parsley and pepper and the mouthfuls of pleasure enlivened by finely diced  onion, cooked but still a little on the crunchy side..

From there I amble up the road apiece to Stephz Gourmet Deli.

This is classic western suburbs.

Sited in what once was a servo, it’s a mix of continental grocery, Greek bakery and coffee bar – all with a Maltese waitress!

I have a crash-hot $3 latte and a 50c piece of what looks like biscotti, but which is emphatically non-Italian. It’s plain, almost savoury, topped with sesame seeds, is called – as near as Athena, another waitress, can translate – pazematia. Subsequent research reveals that a more precise term may be paximathakia – in any case it goes great with my coffee.

Being too full from lunch to countenance richer sweet goodies, I nevertheless ogle the cake/cookie displays. All the goodies are baked on the premises, with a range of rum balls looking particularly evil and desirable. I settle for a slice of very fine baklava to take home with me.

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