Cool Macedonian in the west

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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.



Macedonian magnificence



Zegov Charcoal Grill, 16 Wood Street, Thomastown. Phone:  9078 6811

Nat “The Nose” Stockley has a super-sleuthing way of finding about new joints that fits right fine with the Consider The Sauce ethos.

So when he tips us to the existence of a new eating emporium – or, even better, asks us to join him in checking out – we invariably respond with alacrity.

In this case, the business in question is a newish Macedonian place way over there in Thomastown.

No problem – a sweet drive on the ring road, particularly with a slew of new music to listen to, is a breeze and seems no more “out there” or onerous than some of our more far-fetched westie exploits.

As I drive, I have visions of perfectly grilled meats and fabulous cabbage salad dancing in my head.

That’s precisely what we get – and we get more besides.

A WHOLE lot more.


As we get comfortable in the typically Euro-appointed eatery, Nat and I are like a couple of giggling schoolboys.

Truth is, we both get an immense rush from finding such out-of-the-way places.

As well, I am delighted to find that Zegov ticks another CTS box – regular readers will know we get a particular kick from finding great food on industrial estates. This isn’t that precisely, but it’s real close.

I’ve had no lunch, so am hungry – my mouth really does water as we peruse our menus, which feature both the expected and the not so much.

We choose a couple of starters and a couple of mains – in the latter case, choosing different platters from the three mixed grills available.


Piroshka ($4 each) look like Chiko Rolls and are filled with a mix of cheese, pickled gherkin, ham and mayo. They’re delicate but, for mine, a little on the bland side given the potential pungency of the fillings.


Makallo ($7) is chargrilled green chillies in oil “for dipping”. This is nice enough, though I could wish for more pronounced spice and flavour.

Sounds a little on the ho-hum side so far, doesn’t it?

Well, hold on – things are about to get very interesting!

Something spurs Tanya and her mum-in-law Lidija to get really serious about having us waddle out of the place.

Whether it be the fact we’re photographing everything that moves (and much that doesn’t) or that we look hungry (it certainly can’t be that we look skinny because we don’t) … out come three more starters we haven’t ordered just for us “to try”!



Nafora ($6) is lightly chargrilled bread with chilli flakes and cheese that we gaily use for dipping in the oil of the above makallo.


Sarma ($16 for two) are right up there with the very best cabbage rolls I’ve had, regardless of derivation.

They’re smaller than is often the case, but so tender and packed with not rice but instead a gloriously hearty beef mince sauce.


Grafce ($7) are baked beans – they’re smooth and hearty, but maybe get a little lost in the multitude of food around us.


Finally we get to our mains – mix char grill 1 for him, mix char grill 2 for me.

Both cost an outrageously cheap $18.50, with the only difference being that Nat gets pork neck pieces and I get lamb chops.

Gosh, they’re fantastic! The only problem is, we’ve already eaten so much we struggle to do our platters justice – I eat only one of my chops, for instance.

But the meats are superb – plain, juicy, expertly cooked and including five “kebapi” and, for variation, a skinny pork snag of sneak-up-on-you spiciness.

And the cabbage salad?

It’s perfection in every way!

Such a simple thing and such a joy, the cabbage is both tender and crunchy, and a little vinegary to boot. As it should be.

It’s pretty much the only thing we both clean our plates of.

We think we’re done – but Tanya and Lidija have other ideas …


Tulumba, a dessert special not listed on the menu and yet another treat offered us “on the house”, is like a cross between churros and eclair.

Coated in clear, sticky syrup, it’s a plain and not over-rich way to cap off a magnificent eating experience.

There’s some food in the west that is similar to that to be had at Zegov, but not THAT much.

So this wonderful place is well worth a drive the ring road makes easy.

And I just know that Bennie will love the $10 burgers that are “served with chips in burger”!

Thanks, Nat – you’re always on the money!