The buzz around Brisbane’s latest restaurant launch has been palpable. Originally hailing from the Gold Coast, Hellenika has had a loyal following since it first opened its doors in 2015. Award-winning Greek fare, a sleek and modern interior; your average high-end taverna this is definitely not.
Hellenika’s expansion has been a long time coming (years, in fact, confirms owner Simon Gloftis), and with its recent opening atop the newly completed boutique hotel, The Calile, it signals a much larger change in the industry, and solidifyies the way top tier restauranteurs are seeing viable growth and opportunity in Brisbane.
Anyway, enough speculation on the state of the industry, let’s talk all things Greek.
With views overlooking the jaw-dropping spearmint-hued pool at The Calile, you could be forgiven for assuming Hellenika would fade gently into the background of this impressive building. Stepping inside you’ll see this is clearly not the case.
Stripped back to encompass a palette of white, travertine marble, washed wood with brass accents (and just a splash of peach), Hellenika is slick, grown-up, and very classy.
While the outdoor terrace catches the breeze and overlooks said enticing pool area with its private gazebos and striped umbrellas—anyone getting distinct Amalfi Coast vibes is well on the money here—inside is a lesson in understated chic.
The menu is an ode to the kind of traditional Greek dishes you’d find in most traditional Greek dining establishments but let us be clear; Hellenika is putting a fresh twist on century-old favourites, making them seem new once more.
The restaurant’s famed taramasalata is one of their most-loved dishes, and when paired with their freshly baked bread, it’s a wonder we don’t all flock here to devour this every single day. While the fish roe gives the dip its distinct flavour, the citrus undertone cuts through making it delightfully light and incredibly moreish.
Gloftis has brought in head chef Bryan Kelly (who was at the helm of Helleinka on the GC upon its inception) to ensure the Brisbane menu is seamless—and to bring across some of their most iconic dishes. Top contenders are the slow-cooked lamb (Hellenika’s signature dish) and classic moussaka, which should 100% be paired with mezedes of crispy saganaki, fried octopus and salted crispy pork belly. Oh, and don’t forget the spanakopita; you haven’t had the true Hellenika experience until you try it.
If you make it past the mains—trust us, you will—spare a moment to think about dessert. Greek specialties of house made baklava, bougasta and galaktoboureko (a custard-filled filo pastry with a lemon or orange syrup) or their olive oil chocolate tart are a must-try. So, engage that second stomach and get stuck in. (Being too full is not a feeling widely expressed here.)
Naturally, there are a host of hand-selected Greek wines on the menu you’d be wild not to crack open while you dine, while the back bar is an education on boutique whiskies, gins, vodkas and rums. And don’t even start us on their cocktails.
So, break a plate, knock back a shot of mastiha etc, and welcome Brisbane’s latest dining haunt. Trust us, you’ll be a regular in no time.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Images for The Urban List