Should you live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and don’t wish to make the long trek north for hearty greek taverna food at George Columbaris’s Hellenic Republic, don’t fret. You don’t have far to go with this new addition to his ever-expanding empire.
Less traditional in style of food than at the Hellenic Republic, St Katherine offers pides with different toppings (the turkish version of pizza), small dishes (which also include the classic saganaki and hummous) and larger dishes (like the lamb dumplings with sumac) and of course the traditional souvlaki style of roasted meats each day.
The small dishes and salads were inventive. The cured tuna in the tuna basturma tzatziki salad was delicately spiced to perfection – pity how that delicacy was then overpowered by the heavy handed yoghurt in the accompanying tzatziki salad. The salad of ancient grains was great although on the sweet side but still did go well with the roast meats. Some innovative salads too, like the cos and hazelnut salad although a bit too heavy handed on the honey/sugar. The crispy brussel sprouts with an almond and olive oil dressing was unique and very tasty and the only small dish that was not sweet to the taste.
While greek food is typically on the sweet side with heavy use of honey, in this day and age when diners (even those in love with Greek food) are particular about the sugar they consume, perhaps the kitchen could tone down the sweet and turn up the savoury.
The very large group of 20 something staff were sharp and attentive. A limited number of wines by the glass but some lovely cocktails.
To complete the taverna feel serving dishes were hellenic in style and colour and cutlery was picked from a tin can on the table.
The church theme for this double shop fronted space on a main street in the suburb of Kew, in case you are wondering, simply relates to the family saint of Shane and the church at which George was baptised (both partners of this buzzy eatery)
26 Cotham Street