I like taking public transport to discovery. But sometimes it is easier to drive home in the later hours when the public transport system starts settling into its off-peak snooze and timely connections are a figment of the imagination. And so Discovery XXVIII saw me driving into the city for the first pickup; to Docklands for the second; then across the Moonee Ponds Creek by way of North Melbourne. Our destination: Philhellene.
Philhellene is not a new restaurant to most of the party but one we were eager to try again. In particular I had fond memories of the cauliflower salad. The three car travellers were joined by two other discoverers (including an Ascot Vale local) who arrived by tram and bus respectively. We were soon enjoying our first Fix of Greek beer. Sadly Mythos was out of stock, but the Fix was a reasonable substitute.
The restaurant was pretty busy and we had to wait quite a while before being supplied with menus and placing our orders. We chose most of our dishes from the specials board, including the zucchini flowers stuffed with rice, the roast kid, the sardines and the loukoumades (Greek donuts with honey). The fava dip (a lovely creamy concoction of puréed yellow split peas topped with oil and chopped red onion, served with delicious chunky bread), the lamb souvlaki with couscous and roast potatoes and the cauliflower salad with pomegranate seeds were chosen from the printed menu. Apart from the donuts everything came together and was happily shared among the discoverers. The carnivores were especially enamoured with the goat, which came with an intriguingly dark and mysterious mass of broad beans and peas.
|Philhellene - taking it to the people|
Another long wait ensued before we ordered the donuts and coffee. Philhellene is a family run business and the service is charming and friendly as long as you are not very hungry or in a hurry. The food is delicious and I can't wait to try some of the other items on the menu; on the other hand it's hard to avoid choosing the same favourites (cauliflower salad and fava dip, anyone?) on return visits. It's the sort of place that you wish could be your local so that you could just eat your way through the menu.
In keeping with discovery tradition we took the scenic route home, passing through Brunswick, Carlton, Fitzroy and Richmond and stopping briefly to survey the possible reincarnation of the club near Victoria Gardens. A short rediscovery of North Richmond and a trip down a dark and narrow laneway took us to the drop off point. Finally we crossed the Yarra (not having even noticed our second crossing of the Moonee Ponds Creek) and were once more back in the tranquil city of Boroondara.