It's been a long time coming (the original plan was to open two years ago), but George Calombaris' chic Greek overhaul of an iconic corner pub opens today.
Josh Pelham (ex-Estelle Bistro) heads up the kitchen under the group's executive chef (and Hellenic Hotel co-owner), Travis McAuley. You'll find plenty of Hellenic staples; and though some have been tweaked, the soft-shell crab souva is there, as well as killer rotisserie chicken, slow-roasted lamb shoulder, grilled saganaki (here with apple puree in place of the usual spiced figs) and of course, the iconic grain salad.
In keeping with the pub vibes, you'll see clever takes on nostalgic classics like a fisherman's basket and a de-kitsched prawn cocktail – hell, there's even a pav.
"I call it Gastro Greek, which means a Hellenic touch on great Aussie pub food," Calombaris says.
March Studio is behind the striking nautical-meets-industrial blonde-on-blue design, which incorporates lots of whitewashed brick, mesh-like fittings and many hues of blue. Upstairs you'll find a public bar (with sports on the telly), casual seating and a welcoming (heated) balcony complete with astroturf and retro stripy canvas awnings (hello summertime).
Says Calombaris: "The pub has had a remarkable history and it's a real privilege to give the old building a new life – the Hellenic way."
Open daily noon-10.30pm.
28 Ferguson St, Williamstown, 03 9393 1000, hellenicrepublic.com.au/williamstown