Hellenic Republic: under investigation for food poisoning. Photo: Eddie Jim
MasterChef judge George Calombaris has been forced to close his Kew restaurant Hellenic Republic for at least 24 hours in response to a food poisoning outbreak that left several guests seriously ill.
Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday that Calombaris' eatery was being investigated by the Department of Health and Boroondara Council, after patrons complained of vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
Most of the victims consumed items from a set menu designed for Mother's Day last Sunday, when almost 600 diners visited the popular restaurant that offers modern Greek cuisine.
A spokeswoman for Mr Calombaris' company, Made Establishment, confirmed the Cotham Road venue would be closed until the source of the outbreak could be determined.
"On receipt of further communication from our guests reporting that they had felt unwell after dining at Hellenic Republic Kew, we have decided alongside the Boroondara Council and health authorities to immediately close the restaurant.
"We are working with full transparency and all of our resources to assist them, so that we can urgently identify the cause of these symptoms," the spokeswoman said.
Boroondara Council became aware of a "gastroenteritis outbreak" on Tuesday and obtained food samples from the restaurant.
The council's community development director Carolyn McClean confirmed that faecal samples were also collected from victims to assist the investigation.
The Department of Health has urged anyone who had fallen ill after eating at the restaurant last Sunday to seek medical attention.