Greek tavernas conjure up memories of good times and a free-ranging lifestyle under blue and white stucco walls and awnings, wine in our hands, the table spread with dips and flatbread, Greek salad and fresh grilled seafood.
Standing Acropolis-like on top of the hill, The Greek Club has always been the epitome of all things Hellenic, the place where Greek culture is represented in Brisbane.
To be sure, when we dine there we’re not sitting in a bar on Santorini, but in a pristine inner-city dining room. 15,000 worry beads hang from the ceiling of the function room beside us, city towers peek out from behind the greenery of Musgrave Park, but the food of Nostimo (which means ‘tasty’ or ‘delicious’ in Greek) brings back memories of Greek islands that we can now only dream of revisiting.
From 2018, when The Greek Club relaunched following a $3 million refurbishment, Nostimo was founded under the guidance of internationally acclaimed Chef in Residence David Tsirekas.
Nostimo’s menu gained sophistication and a firm grounding in the historical context of Greek cuisine due to David Tsirekas’ inimitable knowledge of Hellenic culinary history. The menu is designed to take us on a journey through the flavours and traditions of the Hellenes through the ages, unique culturally and regionally grounded dishes designed to be shared with family and friends.
Though Chef David Tsirekas was not present when we dined, the kitchen was in the very capable hands of Head Chef Adam Carpenter who has been with The Greek Club for twelve years.
Food and nostalgia are intertwined, the ‘Old School’ section of Nostimo’s menu even more so, showing off favourite traditional dishes.
On a rainy winter’s day, we begin our lunchtime meal with hearty starters from the Horiatiko menu: Wild green filo triangles that one could imagine being made from foraged greens (Hortopitakia) served with a smoky eggplant garnish, Slow braised giant beans on a rich tomato sauce with toasted bread (Gigantes), and the crowd pleaser, a contemporary Seafood platter for two abundant in tender calamari, octopus, Kataifi prawns and tarama.
Casting no aspersions on previous dishes, no visit to a Greek restaurant would be complete without lamb, and in Nostimo’s case it’s Lamb Skaras: Sovereign Hill lamb, braised for eight hours, then cooked on the charcoal grill with paprika, oregano and garlic for a smoky finish and served on a bed of wilted spinach with herbed yoghurt; it’s melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and flavour puts it among the best lamb I have eaten. It’s unmissable!
For dessert, we enjoy a delicious Greek version of a bread and butter pudding made with tsoureki and served warm with Metaxa-laced custard and Maraschino cherries, the recipe created by Chef Eamon Barnes. Delicious and light, this dessert would be perfect with a Greek coffee.
We’ll have to return to try the signature Pork Belly Baklava, roasted pork belly layered with filo pastry, date and pistachio and pork crackling with a date, mustard and mastiha sauce. A modern dish rooted in old favourites, it’s bound to create its own memories!
Nostimo is fully licensed with craft beer on tap, Greek beer and wine, spirits and classic cocktails. There’s a children’s menu that includes calamari, chicken or lamb with chips, pita bread and salad. Bookings are essential.
Nostimo Restaurant Bar, 29 Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane Ph: 07 3844 1166
Open: Lunch Wed – Sat 11.30 – 2.30; Dinner Wed – Sat 5pm – 9/9.30pm
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Nostimo on one occasion.