Urban Greek is serious Crete food with a sense of humour.
It was Boozy Friday Lunch Friend's choice. He suggested an unlicensed venue without an espresso machine. I thought he was joking. Then I suggested Urban Greek.
Unless I’m thinking of the very sexy Press Club or the more family-orientated, Hellenic Republic in Melbourne, I have pigeon-holed Greek cuisine as meat, chips, cheese and dips.
These are some of my favourite things, which was why I was keen to try Urban Greek.
The former premises of Garagistes have been remodeled. It’s a hybrid refurb, modern copper finishes and black upholstery with walls adorned with Grecian murals and Hellenic blue stained ceramics.
Two days earlier I was advised over the phone that lunch bookings weren’t usually necessary but they happily took my details anyway. I heaved open the door to find a comfortably occupied restaurant with a 70-80 people capacity, plenty of full tables and space for more.
Service was attentive, delightful and encouraged This Girl’s faltering pronunciation.
Feedback on Urban Greek resounds with ‘the meals are HUGE!’ We decided to steer clear of the really big plates and ordered a little of everything else.
What we ate:
Melitzanosalata, $8.50, an aubergine dip with spices
Saganaki cheese with fig sauce and rakamoto, $13
Lamb skewers, chips and a side of Greek salad, $28.50
Galaktoboureko, $10, a classic Greek dessert of custard, filo pastry and raw sugar syrup and
Metaxa brownie, $13, a warm chocolate brownie, with a Greek liqueur syrup and candied Cretan cherries.
Urban Greek is good value - we paid $70 each, including a bottle of Milton Laura sparking rose – and despite our best attempts, we had to leave most of the chips.
There were a few things I particularly enjoyed. The first was the quality pita bread. I'm serious. I love a house made pita with substance to accompany a dip and Urban Greek aced it. The second was the fig sauce that went with the saganaki. We were also served the more traditional lemon with the fried cheese and tried both, but the fig flavour was thoroughly enjoyable and invoked the cuisine.
The third was the desserts. The custard and filo was light and just lovely. It’s the sort of dessert that you’d find Nigella Lawson eating in the middle of the night if it was left in the fridge. She'd actually come to your house to eat it. The brownie was a super-dark chocolate cake which also introduced us the new flavours of Metaxa and candied cherries.
There’s plenty to be enjoyed on this menu even if meat and potatoes are a feature, and you’ll be treated well while you also enjoy plates with new tastes.