Dining Out: Gazi

A DINING EXPERIENCE REVIEW

Type: Casual Dining, Greek       Food: 7/10       Service: 7/10     Value for money: 6/10

http://gazirestaurant.com.au/

2 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Produce notes:

  • I found it quite hard to find out anything about where Gazi sources it’s produce from which is a shame. On both occasions I have visited this restaurant, the wait staff were not equipped to tell me about the origins of their meat, fruit and veggies 😦

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This is pretty much a story about my love for the humble Gyros/Souvlakis.

Last year I was fortunate enough to witness a beautiful and incredibly intelligent friend marry the love of her life. The backdrop to their wedding was the Aegean sea – strikingly blue against the bleached white buildings of Imerovigli, Santorini. Vidid bougainvillea crept up the walls of cliffside homes, and church bells and bell towers flanked the narrow cobblestone paths we awkwardly hobbled around on in our formal shoes.

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A cat sun baking outside an artist’s home in Santorini.

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Bougainvillea everywhere!

Though they obviously did not serve us gyros at the wedding reception (it was hosted at a stunning cliffside winery overlooking the volcano and facing the sunset – not gyros appropriate at all), I did have my fair share of the famous greek street food the two weeks I was in Greece. To be honest…I have never really had gyros before travelling to the Greek Islands, so I guess I was exposed to the best of the best. A possible explanation as to why I now have an unhealthy obsession for them.

Basically, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. The bread was always so soft and fluffy. The tzatziki often packed quite a punch. I loved that! Don’t just give me greek yoghurt, give me something that can wake me up from a half drunken stupor after 3 beers and too much sun!

They were stuffed with greasy chips, fresh tomatoes and smokey meats. They cost me 2 – 3 euros a pop. Travelling with Josh, we did end up spending a fair bit of money on the standard romantic date here and there – but at least we saved on lunches by stuffing our faces with 3 euros worth of pure indulgence.

“Babe why did we gain weight in Greece even after doing a 16km hike in Crete?”

“Not sure. Perhaps it was all that bread stuffed with deep fried potatoes and meat?”

Perhaps.

Adjusting back to our lifestyle back home was incredibly tough. Who knew that spending 2 weeks on an island doing nothing but drinking beers by a beach and eating fresh seafood every night would be more appealing than everything the apparent “Most Liveable City” has to offer? Why do people even have such a fondness for coffee? Why don’t you just drink Mythos beer? Why spend 18 AUD on poached eggs on toast when you can have 18 gyros? Why go to university to go to work and focus on strengthening the economy when you can just –

Ok too far.

Josh and I are usually quite careful not to dine out all the time, as we love food so much it would most certainly end up being unhealthy for our waistlines and our bank accounts 😛 But one day we were both having one of those days where we felt restless and in need of a night out to blow off some steam. A nice date night to relax. Perhaps a drink or two.

Or three. Or four.

I had been to Gazi once before with a group of colleagues and remembered it to be quite a fun and relaxed establishment with good food. We planned to go somewhere for a few drinks and then dinner, so I suggested Gazi to avoid travelling too far away from the bar we wanted to pop into. Calling up to book was easy. The staff member on the phone apologised that they might not have a table for us but could sit us on high chairs at the bar, and we didn’t mind. Luckily it seemed that when we did arrive, a few of their guests were late so we were seated at a table near the windows. All the wait staff were so easy going and friendly and reminded me of some of the locals we met in Crete.

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Our order: Chicken souvlaki, beef souvlaki, duck souvlaki (favourite)

Having already tried most of the items on the menu during my previous visit, I already made up my mind about what I was going to order. Josh seemed pretty quick to choose as well, and I knew we were meant for each other when he decided on the Souvlaki. This is the meaning of true love my friends: when you both take two seconds to decide what to order at a restaurant and you both pick Souvlaki.

We decided to get a selection of the different flavours: beef, chicken, and duck. They look small, but one of these could put anyone to bed. I’d say it has a similar effect to a glass of red wine. Your eyes become heavy and all your worries drift away.

Or is that just me?

The bread is decadent – fluffy enough to soak up the juices of the fillings but thick enough to not get soggy. The chips are crispy and golden – deep fried to perfection and seasoned heavily. Perhaps too heavily? I don’t cook with a lot of salt so when I dine out (especially for junk food or fast food) I struggle to adjust. Josh was impressed with the beef and the chicken, whilst I was blown away by the duck. What a dish! The duck souvlaki is filled with crispy skin duck, poached pear and mustard mayo. The combination of the sweet, sour and smokey flavours of the duck with the fruit almost made me re-enact that diner scene in When Harry met Sally…if you know what I mean.

Gazi’s ambiance, decor and approach embodies the quintessential Melbournian. You know when you’re in another state and you can spot a Melbournian on a train without even having to ask? It’s that person with the refined body language but the rebellious personality. Subtle, calm and well mannered, yet bold when they wants to be. Entrance hidden, decor minimalist – Gazi commands attention without making any noise. Quirky without appearing too detached or unapproachable. Chic without strictly adhering to any particular fashion trends.

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The epic duck souvlaki in all it’s glory. Delicious.

Also worth noting – the food came out incredibly fast. Again, this is probably because we technically ordered the greek equivalent of a burger or a hot dog, but even so I don’t think I’ve even been served a burger at any local burger shop as fast as this.

Are the dishes healthy for you? Absolutely not. Would I go back again? Absolutely yes. Tomorrow even. As I write this post my stomach is growling just thinking about the flavours of that duck souvlaki. I’m already planning my next order in my head. They do serve a soft shell crab souvlaki which sounds like it could be interesting. Deep fried shellfish inside a chunk of bread with deep fried potatoes and lashings of sauce? Once in a while.

Happy feasting, and do mind your table manners.

 

 

 

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