Sampling true Greek hospitality
Photos: Loukoumades covered in hazelnut chocolate and the pitas – that was mine in the centre.
There’s a Greek tragedy at La Boite and a Greek tragicomedy at QTC’s Bille Brown Studios and now the Greek invasion continues with the opening on Saturday of Zeus Street Greek, a new restaurant on Brisbane’s Little Stanley Street.
I went along, with several others to sample the traditional Greek
food this restaurant will be serving and that included making my own pita - supervised of course. One by one the guests filed behind the counter complete with aprons and hygienic latex gloves to create our own masterpiece, I slapped on the tzatziki which was followed by neatly cut lamb pieces, then added tomato and chips, a dash of salt, pepper and powdered paprika, wrapped it neatly and sat it on a tray to await serving. All the afresh ingredients were on view and the lamb proved to be particularly tender.
It was interesting to be on the other side of the counter.
There were three examples of pitas, Uncle Tzimmy’s Lamb (the one I had), Hermes Chicken, spicy, and a vegetarian dish Stavros Stavrou Haloumi (sounds like a Bond villain!)
There are actually eight varieties on the full menu and all come in the $10.50-$13.50 range.
We sampled side dishes – Spanakopita, which was a tasty homemade spinach cheese pie with lemon and feta and oregano chips. Salads were a zesty green bean and Village, a nice mix of tomato, cucumber, onion, oregano, olives, feta, and lemon dressing. It was a lovely mix of flavours.
Finally of course came the Greek specialty - sweets – with honey puffs (Loukoumades), one lot covered in delicious hazelnut chocolate, and Bougasta, vanilla bean custard wrapped in filo pastry and dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar. It was all created for the sweet tooth. I must admit to being won over by the honey puffs.
The interior of the restaurant is small and narrow with seating for around 40; customers of course can spill out at the front and rear of the premises.
Despite having all the cooking going in full view through a huge window, the room was not overly heated and the staff were attentive and the atmosphere convivial.
Zeus is the shared culinary child of Costa Anastasiadis, the founder of Crust Gourmet Pizza, and George Kyrprianou from Pony Dining Brisbane, two Greek boys who grew up together and have always, always worked in hospitality. Heading the Zeus kitchen is Brisbane-born Chef Damian Draper, from Pony Dining Brisbane, and a famed meat specialist.
“At the essence of Zeus is a sense of sharing – to share the table with your friends, your family; this is one of the oldest Greek traditions there is and it is very important to us. It was Plutarch, a Greek historian who said, ‘We do not sit at the table to eat… but to eat together’ and this mantra rings true to us at Zeus – we call it Filoxenia, or to show hospitality to all,” said Costa.
The restaurant will open its doors to the public on Saturday June 13 with I Love Souvla Saturday when, between noon and 3 pm when pita wraps will be given away. Zeus will donate $2 for every pita wrap given away to Micah Projects at South Bank.
www.zsg.com.au for more information.