Melbourne's Hellenic Museum, guardian of Greek treasures, home to a hell of an internal courtyard, has opened its own Greek restaurant in its stunning Sean Godsell-designed event space M Pavilion.
Helmed by chef Safat Hossain, who has traded museums by shifting from the National Gallery of Victoria to work Hellenic's wood fire, the Grounds of Arcadia is a casual wood-fired operation offering lunch, Greek wines and baklava to museum visitors and outsiders daily.
That's good news for William Street workers who have been hankering to devour a whole tarragon and rosemary-crusted roast chook in their lunch hour. Ditto slow-roasted lamb loin, big grain salads, honey-glazed pumpkins, individual spanakopita (feta and spinach pies) and the full roll call of dips including cod roe tarama topped with Yarra Valley caviar.
Possibly more compelling, however is the opening of two galleries featuring works by acclaimed Australian artists for private dining events. Book with a group of up to 20 and the museum will curate a sit-down dinner amid the ONEIROI exhibition, featuring images captured by acclaimed photographer Bill Henson of models wearing five artefacts from the Benaki collection, Gods, Myths & Mortals.
More intimate still, groups of 12 can have dinner sat around the inky pool representing the River Styx over which perches Sam Jink's golden winged, but otherwise incredibly lifelike, statue of the messenger goddess, Iris.
Prices will vary depending on the scope of the event and whether diners want to use in-house catering or work with an external chef. Private night tours of the gallery can also be arranged.
The Grounds of Arcadia is open 11.30am-4pm, Tuesday - Friday. 280 William Street, Melbourne, 03 9642 1889, hellenic.org.au.