Having visited Pireaus Blues once back at uni, I thought it would be interesting to head back there again. I'd been craving Greek food and thought that it might hit the spot.
Near the corner of Johnston Street and Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, Pireaus Blues has some stiff competition nearby, but the restaurant was far from empty and we found a table for two near the fireplace.
Having craved Greek food for a few weeks, I wanted everything on the menu, so we went with the Rembetiko Banquet. A little indulgent? Yes. But sometimes cravings have their way.
Feeling ready to embrace Greek food and culture we ordered a carafe of house wine, thinking it must be a common wine to drink. It was so much sweeter than we had anticipated, surprisingly though, it tasted much better when accompanied with food.
First up, an array of starters including dips, dolmades, saganaki, marinated octopus and soudzoukakia.
The four dips (tzatziki, taramasalata, potato and eggplant) were served with pita bread. All the dips were fantastic, but the eggplant really impressed me. It even got me thinking about making dips from scratch at home. (I'll let you know how that goes.)
The dolmades were a little colder than I would have liked. But the saganaki was fantastic. Having had the saganaki with peppered figs at Helenic Republic before, I was a little hesitant about this simple style, but... it was fantastic. Rather than focusing on the figs, the true flavour of the saganaki was the focal point of this dish, and the lemon juice gave it a zesty kick. So delicious!
I love octopus and have tried to share my love with many less-than-convinced friends. This dish, however, was a tad mixed. There were divine pieces of octopus that were perfectly tender, but there were also pieces that were much too tough and lacked flavour.
The soudzoukakias were good. Probably not quite as nice as the meatballs I recently had at Melbourne Public, but there definitely wasn't anything to complain about it either - the flavours just weren't as complex.
Now for the main meals... Oh my goodness, I could have eaten those starters and been more than content, however one does not order a banquet simply expecting a salad - although there was salad, Greek salad, of course - but plenty more too.
To my complete and utter delight, the seafood platter included swordfish. I like most 'hearty' fish, but swordfish is probably my favourite (and also the one I probably eat the least). And the swordfish on this platter did not disappoint. It even seduced Dan, who is more of a flakey white fish fan. Just as delicious, the lightly crumbed calamari was wonderfully light.
Fearing that I might burst at any moment, I tasted the meat (as opposed to eating it). The lamb was practically falling apart and tasted so good. (Clearly increased enjoyment hinders my ability to describe anything accurately.) If I could cook like that I might never leave home. The chops were less impressive, but ate this stage I really didn't care, and I left the potatoes alone.
And last but definitely not least, our dessert - Loukoumades. Words cannot describe these blissful honeyed doughnuts, covered in cinnamon and served with ice cream. I thought I was full. I was certain I was full. But this dessert was just too good. All awareness of how bursting I was completely evaporated and somehow we demolished these delicious golden spheres.
Dan finished the night with a coffee and we talked until we realised our car was parked in a 1 hour spot. Oops.
I don't think Dan and I have had such a fun dining experience in a while and the night flew by - thankfully we didn't get a parking ticket too. There was so much food, most of it great, the atmosphere was relaxed and yet somewhat frivolous, and we couldn't have asked for much more.
You can look forward to some posts from France and Spain over the next month - so stay tuned!
Name: Pireaus Blues
Location: 310 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3000