Santorini, 1 Parker Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8520
On the eve of our mid-week dinner at Santorini, I spend some time checking out the restaurant’s website and menu – and hatch a plan.
I will, without blushing, hijack the ordering for our table of five.
As it turns out, one my companions, Jacqui, the Urban Ma, has received advice that puts her mindset in the same place as mine.
Says Jacqui: “My friend said to me, ‘Whatever you do, don’t have the dips, don’t eat the bread!'”
Indeed, why bulk up on those reliably nice things when, as non-paying guests (see full disclosure below), we can order whatever we desire?
Why not make the most of the opportunity by ordering elsewhere?
So we do!
We – Jacqui, hubby Wes, son Daniel, Bennie and myself – proceed to enjoy a spectacular Greek feed in a lovely Williamstown building.
Built in 1850, the triangular building was once the local post office, and looks out on the bay as it does so the then postmen (and women?) could observe when the boats were incoming.
The interior is elegant yet casual, the service spot on.
Had we gone the regular route with dips or one of the banquet choices, we would never had tried the simple yet amazing horta ($10) – greens, lemon and olive oil.
This chicory looks plain, eats delicious.
Fasolakia ($12.90) is another green and healthy treat, with its beans, spinach, feta and toasted almond slivers.
Our three-starter line-up is completed by the spuds.
What can I say?
How about: “OMG, OMG, OMG!!!”
Really, these humble tiganites patates ($7.90), pan-fried in olive oil, oregano and “kalas salt”, are so so simple yet so very yummy.
So much so that none of us mind at all that quite a few more of them turn up as “trimmings” for our main selections.
Chargrilled prawns ($34.50) and …
… kota souvlaki (marinated chicken cooked over charcoal, $26.50) are good, solid, enjoyable Greek fare, though the chicken is a tad on the dry side.
But they are well and truly aced by …
… the arni gyros of marinated lamb shoulder “shaved off the spit” ($28.90).
This is fabulous stuff that well and truly destroys my some-time belief that the only difference between the food to be had at your typical souvlaki shop and that from more swish Greek restaurant proper is the price.
You’d be very lucky indeed to find lamb this good, this crusty, so unfatty, so joyously enjoyable in a takeaway joint.
What’s more, it’s an impressively big serve.
With its spuds, pita bread and tzatziki, and with the addition of a salad on the side, this would make a perfectly satisfying and affordable meal for two.
Our lamb is unanimously voted the hit of the night.
Along with them spuds!
Our mains have been suitably accompanied by a good horiatiki salad ($14.90).
Did we leave room for dessert?
Loukoumades are smaller than those I’ve eaten in the past but they are nicely chewy and really nice.
And in Bennie’s world, deep-fried = good.
Galaktoboureko is even better, it being a semolina custard sandwiched between filo pastry – this is a sort-of Greek-style vanilla slice, but less sweet and cloying.
Check out the Santorini website, including menu, here.
(Consider The Sauce dined at Santorini as guests of management. No money changed hands. We ordered whatever we wanted. Santorini management did not seek any editorial input into this story.)