Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spitiko "House" Warming

Disclaimer: I was invited to Spitiko's Launch compliments of Spitiko and Harvey Publicity

"This is our home and we are welcoming you to it" co-owner John of Spitiko happily exclaimed as Philip Vakos, new co-owner and head chef took a reprieve from welcoming us, lest he become overwhelmed with all the joyful emotions. 

I don't know about you guys, but I can't think of that many places where you walk in, turn your head right 90 degrees and have your eyeballs pop out of your head and jaw drop at the luscious sight of two…yes…two…whole lambs being spit roasted. 

Is there anything more beautiful?

I was invited to the launch/house warming of Spitiko in South Melbourne, and true to their cause, from the first step in, you feel like you've stepped into someone's house. Love adorns their walls, in the form of framed family style photos and gatherings, fun revels from the tables, with greek memorabilia or brown paper…the latter just inviting you dig into your food and make a mess (which I certainly did). 

I love this series of photos, there's nothing like seeing a moment of joy be captured huh?

I was a little nervous bringing Brad, the last time I was at launch there wasn't a whole lot of food…sure, enough booze, but hardly enough to constitute a meal…and Brad being the metabolism machine he is, generally needs a good full meal, sometimes two, in the evening.

But ah! I hardly needed to worry, in true Greek style, the food was aplenty and generous. My uneducated Greek palate was about to have some serious training…!

Pita bread was pumping out of the kitchen all night, warm and fluffy, it was just perfect. But of course, pita is only half the equation when dips are involved, but fortunately, the dips lived up and surpassed expectations. Aromatic, pungent, hardly the shy flower with hearty doses of garlic. Mmmm! The eggplant one was one of our favourites in particular. 

Lightly fried calamari were a fun little novelty, cleverly made bite sized, so easy to eat while standing, and wrapped in, what looked like, a cone made from a greek newspaper! Just delicious, not too salty, not too oily. Doesn't Brad just have the best long skinny fingers for food modelling? 

These deep fried olives were a fun little nibble, piping hot they were! I thought mine kind of looked like Jack Skeleton's head after I had chewed through it!

We had dolmades, rice, pork and veal and wrapped in vine leaves. My family has had a grape vine growing in our backyard for the past 9 to 10 years, and we used to have a greek grandma who would come by and ask if she could have some of it's big vine leaves to makes these with. She never did bring us any to sample (cue sadface), but fortunately I finally got to try some at Spitiko! 

The dolmades were delicious. I don't really know how to describe them, I enjoyed the subtle flavours of the veal and pork, and the softness and sweetness of the rice. Probably one of my favourite things that I ate all night! It was so light and easy to eat…which makes it a little dangerous…

Beautiful juicy prawns wrapped in crispy rice noodles, whilst I didn't find these particularly Greek, what's not to love about juicy, sweet, crispy and fried?

Souvlaki happened, and like the drunks we were (a couple of gin cocktails will do that to you), we lined up, within the restaurant, which was a bit of an odd notion, watching as the chef assembled them, wrapped them up in paper and popped them out on the bypass….where they disappeared in a flash! Chips too!

The souvlaki was a filling little sucker, we found it was quite salty, especially with the chips in the souvlaki as well…but that's clearly just a sign that we weren't drunk enough yet…surely?

George Calombaris popped by for a little visit too! We all commented how weird it was to see him there, and also see him on the tv screen on Masterchef at the same time! Who would have ever thought I would manage a few sneaky pictures of him on my blog...? 

Before too long, the spit roasted lamb was also carved up and served up. Determined to not have it slip by me, I very quickly jumped onto the first tray that went out to get one for Brad and I to share. Gotta be on your toes at these things! A generous portion (especially after all that we had eaten already), served on a bed of fluffy vine rice, the lamb was just scrumptious. 

Although a small portion of greek desserts, including a delightful little rice pudding, were shared, Pierrick Boyer from Le Petit Gateau dropped off a couple of boxes of macarons for everyone to tuck into as well. 

Oh and a very limited number of mini salted caramel profiteroles, these just made my heart swell and melt at the same time. Just perfection! 

Spitiko really threw a great house warming, and the smiles and joy in the room that night were just infectious. Peeking at the menu, I saw what looked like an awesome 'Feed Me' option, at just $40 per head! 

I really loved what I saw, ate and smelt at the launch party, now that my untrained palate has had a tiny taste of Greek, it's dying to return to find out more....! 

270 Park Street
South Melbourne

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