A spontaneous outing to Oakleigh with a girlfriend literally led us by the nose to Kalimera. We parked in an unfamiliar parking lot and were trying to work out which way to go to get to Eaton Mall when aromas filled with promises of delicious food wafted past our noses. We followed it like zombies in a trance and I guess we were a little hungry. Once I saw the ambiance of what is essentially a fast food take away with a seating area, I was in love.
An expansion to the take away to cater to the throngs of people that line up for souvlaki.
With its cable spool seating, long 'Provincial' bench and bar stools, and colourful shutters on the back wall; not to mention the bare bulbs hanging off thick ropes and beautiful portraits, this was my kind of place.
For the dynamic duo Thomas and Sylvia, Kalimera is filled with their hospitality, love, hopes and dreams.
Thomas and Sylvia Gabriel opened Kalimera for business in October 2012, and built the restaurant extension in December 2013. They themselves along with their son Angelo have only been in Australia two and a half years. Sylvia was born here but went back to Greece in her formative years, completing her studies over there. She is a photographer with plans to open her own photography studio in the near future. All the beautiful photographs of Thomas and Angelo that adorn the walls, are by Sylvia.
A photographer in her own right, with a creative and artistic nature, Sylvia's photographs adorn the wall and her artistic signature is stamped in the decor of Kalimera
Using only the freshest ingredients, this premium essentially Greek, street food outlet, definitely provides fast service. This is due to the fact that the menu runs to the tune of a souvlaki bar and stays true to form and does not serve hot drinks like coffee and tea. Perfect for the many patrons and workers in Oakleigh to grab a quick lunch.
Open Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun 11am to 8pm / Fri & Sat 11am to 9pm and closed o Mondays.
I was lucky enough to meet Thomas and Sylvia who took the time to chat to me. Thomas insisted we try the lamb and the pork and proceeded to bring some out as my girlfriend had ordered the chicken. A pork souvlaki was not the norm for her and she never liked lamb in a souvlaki because it was usually stringy. Being vegetarian, I relied on my girlfriends sighs of satisfaction, her glazed look and her mouthing of "mmmm, this is delicious, so full of flavour, so moist, so tender" and such like, over and again, that let me know it was as delicious as written up by many an article by various foodie connoisseurs, including channel 9 whom came with Paul Mercurio and Maria Vella to film and eat. All this attention in just a little more than a year and a half, along with people lining up for the souvlaki s and an 87% rating on Urbanspoon, tells the story in itself.
Imported oregano from Greece, sent in vacuum sealed bags from the farm of Thomas' parents, with the rest of the herbs coming from their own garden
Thomas went on to say he insists on freshness and quality. Only the finest olive oil, the leanest premium quality pork and chicken are used and all their sauces are made in-house. With oregano from his parent's farm in Greece, vacuum sealed and sent over by his brother, all other herbs he uses comes from their garden.
Juicy spit roasted pork, deconstructed platters, dips platter and other delights served in trendy ways.
Unable to get a space in the popular Eaton Mall, Sylvia said she is now very happy where they are, and does not want to go there any longer. Slightly off the main strip and on Chester street, Kalimera is the pot of gold patrons stumble upon and discover. Check out their website for more details and more pictures to drool over. They also have a Facebook presence.
Making pork souvlaki a success story, right here in Melbourne.