BAHARI, THE HELLENIC PALATE – Established by two Greek brothers and hailed as one of the best Greek restaurants in Melbourne with a 4.7/5 on Zomato, this was a must try! Basically right outside of the East Richmond train station, the Hellenic Palate has a great, noisy vibe with lots of bustling activity in a small area. Not the best service as the waitresses constantly tried to upsell, and didn’t bring our desserts for a long time after we had finished our mains. Tricky decision as, in the end, I was disappointed with the lack-of-Greek-heartiness I was anticipating from our dinner for the price. Despite some absolutely outstanding dishes that have left a strong impression in my foodie brain, there were also a few, simply disastrous dishes which really brought the whole experience down for me.
Trio of Dips (Melitzanosalata, Tzatziki, Taramosalata) – $18.5
The good fat: Soft, warm pita bread that flaked apart beautifully! It went perfectly with all the dips and definitely difficult to pick a favourite as they all offered very different flavours to stimulate the palate. The Melitzanosalata (egglplant) gave a very earthy, grounded taste with a hint of pepper, whilst the tzatziki was very fresh and acidic. The taramosalata (fish) was in fact quite rich and cheesy – I was really intrigued by this sauce combo.
The bad fat: Hugely disproportionate amount of pita bread to sauce, you would expect that an extra re-fill ($4.0) should not mean that you’re STILL struggling to finish the dips…
Saganaki (Kefalograviera) – $13.5
The good fat: Even though it was my first time trying it, I enjoyed the rich, firm texture of the goat’s cheese fried to be crispy on the outside but tough and chewy in between. The cheese flavour was strong and tasty.
The bad fat: Portion size was disappointingly small, wafer thin and I was expecting a more impactful punch of flavour that would be supplemented by more than merely just the lemon.
Calamari (Lightly dusted in Semolina and Deep-fried) – $14.50
The good fat: The calamari was cooked tenderly so the balance between chewiness and softness was quite lovely.
The bad fat: Flavours disappointingly bland and not so much different to store bought salt and pepper calamar in my opinion. Once again, disappointingly small portion size for the price and the calamari itself was quite bland without squeezing lemon juice. The tartare sauce on the size was necessary but nothing exciting about it.
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder – $18.5, Slow Roasted Kid Goat – $17.5
The good fat: 100% this is where the restaurant outshines its competitors. Both proteins were cooked to absolute perfection. The strands of the meat fell apart, strip by strip on my fork and melted amazingly in my mouth. Definitely would be one of the best-textured meats I have tried, on par with the Beef Rib from Chin Chin. (Double Chin for Chin Chin) I preferred the lamb shoulder slightly more, as the sauce was a bit stronger and more savoury – the small strips of the meat were soaked in the juice so the droplets of flavour permeated the entire piece of meat, as with the larger portions of the kid’s goat.
The bad fat: Not enough! But nothing really to fault for any of these dishes.
Baclava (Orange Blossom Pistachio, Walnuts, Honey and Cinnamon) – $9.0
The good fat: Interesting variety of textures, with strong flavours undercut by the sesame, neutral taste of the icecream. Loved the hard, flaky crispness of the baclava, intertwined with sweetness of the honey, grounded nuttiness of the pistachios, and altogether blended with the soft creaminess of the halva icecream to undercut the otherwise, overpowering sweetness.
The bad fat: I’m not a huge fan of halva icecream, as on itself, it was a bit too bland (Sorry, yes I know you were supposed to have it with the baclava…) The baclava was slightly hard in my opinion.
Feta Cheesecake (Baclava and Biscuit Crumble) – $9.0
The good fat: IT’S CHEESECAKE! Where can you go wrong? This cheesecake was perfect – not too sweet and very lightly textured with an interesting addition of feta undercutting the usual sweetness (from ricotta etc.) The baclava on top added an extra crunchy texture that really boosted the creativity and array of textures. The crumble had an Anzac biscuit sort of taste that worked well with the rest of the cake. Simply rich and divine! Interesting presentation by placing it in a jar dusted with flowers, pistachio dust and strawberries at the top that gave it a unique, garden–like touch.
The bad fat: Not enough! ^ _ ^
SHOULD YOU GET FAT HERE?
Yes! Authentic Greek food, but I would definite pass on some of those starters and opt for the mains instead, especially if you’re looking to get a full stomach.
FAT-O-METER: 3.5/5 (4/5 if I didn’t have any starters…)