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Ethical eating? It starts with the kitchen hand’s pay packet

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I’ve lost count of the number of great meals I’ve had at George Calombaris’s restaurant Hellenic Republic.

George Calombaris and Neil Perry.Credit:Fairfax Media

We’ve held family dinners for birthdays, treated friends visiting from overseas to something a little out of the ordinary, lunched on souvlaki stuffed with fat chips, Greek street food-style, and, once or twice, eaten there on a weeknight because no one wanted to cook and we felt like something a cut above the usual and we hadn’t been for a while anyway.

And what delicious food that smoking open kitchen sends out: garlicky, golden chicken on the spit, baby octopus that tastes like it’s just been netted by the original old man from the sea, fall-apart lamb shoulder, roasted kipflers (more gold, more garlic) and, a favourite, the saganaki with tiny caramelised wild figs.

The Brunswick branch is open and bright and usually heaving, and the staff – with a heavy Greek-Australian accent........

© The Age