Urban Greek

Licensed/BYO $-$$   Hat iconHat iconHat icon   Glass iconGlass icon
103 Murray Street, CBD
03) 6109 4712
Open: Lunch and Dinner Tuesday to Sunday.

Dakos, saganaki cheese, dolmades, rafiola, tzatziki, kolokithokeftedes, skordalia, mousakas, yiros and baklava – the only thing missing is the Mediterranean to dabble your toes in. In all other respects, particularly the food and wines, Urban Greek is as authentic and as good as the best eateries and tavernas you’ll find scattered through that country’s mainland and islands.

In fact, given the corrupting influence of today’s mass tourism on Greece’s culinary traditions, what the Kakkos family has brought to the remodelled Garagistes is the real deal, a true family restaurant involving brothers, wives and first cousins and serving “the sort of food that my mother and grandmother still make today” says George Kakkos.

Some readers might remember George’s father, Tony Kakkos, at the Salad Bowl in South Hobart before the family moved back to Lerapetra in Crete 20 years ago. With Greece’s economic problems, the family returned to Tasmania and bought Garagistes last March, removed the communal tables, introduced a touch of Greek mythology to the decor and opened Urban Greek in November.

The menu is huge and, after two visits, we still haven’t done head chef Vissarion Batras’ food and Zaharioudakis Pavlos’ pastries justice.

We did however do the selection of entrees and appetisers some justice starting with a generous wedge of grilled Kefalograviera cheese marinated in herbs and lemon with a delicious fig jam, cinnamon and Rakomelo – a perfect savoury/sweet starter.

Then followed a platter made up of warm filo-wrapped feta with Cretan honey and black sesame – a taste explosion in the mouth – beautifully flavoursome dolmades with dill yoghurt, tender char-grilled octopus, calamari cooked for nine hours in a rich tomato, cinnamon, cumin and bay leaf sauce; Cretan-style mini pies with three different delicious fillings and wonderfully crisp and flaky house-made filo.

Among all the different flavours, it was the little things that made such a big difference – the delicacy of white instead of the coarser red-coloured tarama; the tender Cretan fig leaves instead of the usual thickish and darker-coloured tinned Turkish dolmades; the Cretan honey; and the general freshness of everything including a perfectly char-grilled baby snapper served with a garlicy skordalia.

Then, to finish, for those with a very sweet tooth there are the classic baklava and halva or filo pastry pie filled with sweet creamy custard called galaktoboureko or a trio of the best house-made ice creams from a selection of eight flavours including pistachios from Etna and delicious hazelnut.

To accompany all this, George has put together a good and reasonably priced selection of Tasmanian and mainland wines with a good number by the glass plus a rare selection of wines from some of Greece’s top producers including an intense, minerally dry Assyrtiko from the volcanic island of Santorini and various Xinomavro and other indigenous reds from the Grecian mainland.

As said, Urban Greek is the real deal and is a wonderful addition to Hobart’s culinary scene.

Dolmades $9.50; saganaki cheese with fig jam $13.00; charcoal octopus $18.00; mousakas $25.00; ice cream $3.80 a scoop

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