You can eat almost anything in Windsor. The only animal not on the menu is Bald Eagle.
But if we’re being nit-picky, it’s hard to find a Greek kebab up this end of town. Biggie Smalls is fantastic, but it’s not hitting that slightly guilty, Gyros-style craving. Rebel Blue is also good, but again that’s a little fancier.
We want down and dirty, loaded chips, tzatziki, fried golden halloumi and an ice-cold Mythos lager. Ouzo isn’t essential, but it’s a definite bonus.
Which is why we were pretty bloody excited when we heard Warrigal’s Kalamaki souva bar was moving to High St. In fact it’s taken over the old Naked Chicks space (RIP).
Kalamaki is a family affair. Alexander's brother (and co-owner) Dino handles the day-to-day running of the store.
“We’ve always done Greek food,” says co-owner Alexander Koutsotheodoros. “Although our last place in Warrigal was Greek-Italian. Mum’s from Italy and Dad’s from Greece. Although, weirdly, he made all the pizzas.”
Obviously the specialty here is proper, Athenian kalamaki souvlaki, which basically means skewers (kalamaki means ‘small reed’). Alexander’s Dad Foti runs the kitchen, marinating the meat overnight in a secret blend of herbs and spices (“There’s a lot of oregano in there,” says Alexander). It’s then grilled to perfection and whacked inside a puffy pita.
So what should you order? If it’s your first time, load up with a few skewers. But the souvlaki are bloody good too. Alexander says the lamb is the most popular choice (classic Aussie), but the pork is probs more traditional.
The souvas are your Jimmy Grant-style—which means they’re not massive. It’s more about quality here than quantity. The flavour is bang on, and the addition of French fries (instead of thick cut chips) actually works really well.
The guys are also slinging loaded fries with feta, onion and meat on top (highly recommend). The combo option gets you a souva, chips and a drink for around $20, which is pretty standard for these things in Melbourne. The restaurant is licenced, and you can get Mythos and a tight selection of wine. The cocktails are apparently on their way.
Is it worth it? Well we inhaled the entire meal in about 47 seconds with a big grin on our face. That’s two enthusiastic thumbs up right there.
Image credit: Kalamaki