Gazi has a bit of a ring to it and it's not just the din coming from inside. George Calombaris' new-old venture is stirring up a storm, serving Athenian style street food or vromiko. Shunning the fusty traditions of the table-clothed (namely The Press Club, which is reopening on Flinders St), Gazi is a casual venue oozing style. Located in the heart of the central business district, Gazi is a restaurant for all occasions (including take-away, office slaves). Not taking itself too seriously, it is destined to become a go-to for Melburnians and visitors alike (me!).
|Stepping in, you are hit with a trendoid crowd of suits and heels. This is lunch hour ramped up a few notches|
The restaurant is named after the Gazi district in Athens, an industrial turned hipster area. The restaurant site itself has undergone a complete transformation itself, being completely gutted and (half) done again. The ceiling itself is unmistakeable; adorned with an undulating sea of terracotta pots. Oak booths along the windows look to have been 'knocked up', the exposed concrete adding a grungy, too-cool feel.
|Another snapshot of Gazi's interior by March Studio, also credited with the ridiculously good looking Baker D. Chirico in Carlton Photo: Australian Design Review|
In such a refined setting, you'd almost expect a two course lunch with glass of wine. If it weren't for the noise, the energy from the open kitchen and general hubbub and cheer you'd think you were in for fine dining. But no, the food is put together in a matter of minutes as meat is carved of the rotisserie and dishes are quick-fired in your direction. It is all about good food and drink for the masses with minimal fuss. Ouzo is optional, of course. Gazi is the very best of a souvlaki shop distilled and bottled.
|The Bend-Over Box ($27.50): the most popular lunch option, these babies were flying off left, right and centre. For when you want to try a bit of everything (or getting hangry) there's a selection from the rotisserie, grilled fish of the day and a sweetie to finish|
George Calombaris is another who seems to be amassing an empire in Melbourne. Gazi is Greek food for the everyman, to be enjoyed with a few drinks and the best of friends. Calombaris himself, was seen to be enjoying a coffee there the day we visited. He has succeeded in creating something thoroughly modern in a quickly shifting food culture.
|After the rush: there is a frenetic 2 hour window on weekdays as the suits march in for a quick 'business' lunch (booze included)|
Thanks for reading!