Photo: Eddie Jim
WHERE AND WHAT
A PROPER old-school, family-run restaurant, Pireaus Blues serves up home-style, Cypriot-influenced cooking in an unpretentious setting. For the past 16 years it has been every bit as busy as its more fashionable neighbours on Brunswick Street. The walls are adorned with family photos and the kind of knick-knackery you would find in a family taverna in Greece.
WHERE TO SIT
In true taverna style, there are lots of simple tables, close together, although in winter the prime spot is in front of the log fire. Upstairs at weekends is crowded and noisy, with big tables of families and banqueting groups.
WHEN TO GO
Open every day for dinner from 5pm until late and from noon until late on Sundays. Lunch is available Wednesday to Friday from noon until 3pm. Occasionally, there is live music in the evenings. Best to book a table if you plan to dine on the weekend.
There is an extensive wine list, largely focusing on Australian wines and a few regional Greek varieties. Each wine listing carries a suggested food to match. For after dinner, there is a good list of bracing Greek liqueurs.
You won't find any modern interpretations or deconstructed dishes here - if you order the calamari or the braised goat, it is presented pretty much as it has been for centuries in Greece. The lunch menu is great value, with generously proportioned souvlakis about $15.95. At first glance the dinner menu seems sparse but the serves are big and there is a range of salads, dips and bread and a changing specials board. Entrees are not so cheap but, again, they are huge and work well for sharing - try the amazing spetsofai (spicy pork and leek sausage cooked casserole style, $15.50) or a classic saganaki ($11.95). There is also, of course, dolmade, whitebait, dips and pita bread. Roasted meats are the speciality when it comes to mains, then there's seafood, chargrilled meats and oven-baked dishes. The souvlakis (chicken $25.95 or lamb $27.95) are chargrilled to perfection and served on a bed of lemon potatoes which might well be worth the visit alone. Other classics include biftekia (marinated grilled beef rissoles), moussaka and yemista (stuffed vegetables and rice). Try to save room for dessert - halva ice-cream, baklava and usually a special or two - and a post-dinner raki or ouzo.
A mixed crowd of Brunswick Street types and Greek families.
Gerasimos Stamoulis and Flora Karanikos keep the specials menu interesting with great peasant dishes such as goat and rabbit.
Pireaus Blues - 310 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, phone 9417 0222.
- 03 9417 0222
- Cuisine - Greek
- Prices - Entree $15.50, Main $28, Dessert $8.50
- Features - Licensed, Bar, BYO
- Chef(s) - Gerasimos Stamoulis & Flora Karanikos
- Owners - George & Flora Karanikos, Les & Vicki Thomaidis
- Cards accepted - AMEX, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa, EFTPOS
- Opening Hours - Mon-Sat 5pm-late, Wed-Fri noon-3pm, Sun noon-late
- Seats - 200
- Author - Kylie Northover