WHERE AND WHAT
The Talimanidis family ran their renowned Greek restaurant, Kosta's, at Lorne, for something like 27 years; then they moved up the road to Aireys Inlet and their new digs on the main road opposite the pub in 2005. With Pam Talimanidis in the kitchen, husband Kosta on the floor and several young family members helping out, A La Grecque is one of those places synonymous with the people who run it.
WHERE TO SIT
This question is likely to be decided by the weather, because the whitewashed restaurant has a broad verandah on two sides affording glimpses of the ocean in the background. It becomes prime territory when the sun is shining. There's a green lawn that's perfect for children to stretch their legs (and on that note there's a kids' menu, too). Inside has the pleasant, modern feel of an airy, timber-hued bistro with wainscoting augmented by a colour-block paint scheme that references the Mediterranean by way of Mondrian.
WHEN TO GO
With Kosta and Pam's annual holiday, during which they decamp to Greece, now over, A La Grecque is open Wednesday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner; during summer it's seven days a week.
The wine list focuses on Australia, with a few New Zealanders and only one Greek label thrown into the mix. It's affordable, although the selection by the glass is fairly limited. The short-but-global beer list goes exceptionally well with the Greek food on offer.
Not merely a catalogue of the greatest hits of Greek cuisine, A La Grecque's menu is a nicely nuanced read. You'll get your fried calamari with aioli and oregano and salt cod croquettes with taramasalata but there's a lot more shade and depth than is found at your run-of-the-mill taverna. There's a good spin on local seafood. Reflecting the Hellenic love of octopus, it comes chargrilled with roasted red onion, red capsicum and croutons, while grilled scallops on the shell with boudin noir, fennel and caramelised apple are a nice modern bistro starter. Roasted quail with celeriac puree and prosciutto is cooked to a charry outside with a pink inside finish. Mains might include the simplicity of whomping king prawns chargrilled with a green chilli salsa or a more winter-worthy dish of braised pork shoulder with celeriac, fennel and leek. Desserts? The virtuous can order fresh dates stuffed with candied orange peel; otherwise consider the pear and custard teacake.
Everyone who owns a holiday house along the expanse of the Great Ocean Road, tourists and locals.
Great Greek with a sunny vibe.
A La Grecque
60 Great Ocean Road, Aireys Inlet, phone 5289 6922.
- 03 5289 6922
- Cuisine - Greek, European
- Prices - Entree $18, Main $30, Dessert $12
- Features - Licensed, Outdoor seating
- Chef(s) - Pam & Alex Talimanidis
- Owners - Pam, Kosta & Alex Talimanidis
- Cards accepted - AMEX, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa, EFTPOS
- Opening Hours - Daily 9am-11pm (Nov 1-Apr 30), Wed-Sun 9am-11pm (May 1-mid-June & Aug-Oct), closed mid-June-first week of Aug
- Seats - 90
- Author - Larissa Dubecki