Philhellene was inaugurated in November 2008 with the vision for delivering wholesome Greek food, culture and music. The food is provincial Greek with hints of Cypriot and Middle Eastern influences. With such rich influences, it is no wonder that Philhellene's culinary creations deliver epicurean delights.
I discovered Philhellene Provincial Greek Cuisine on a work lunch party when I was wise enough to try one of their banquets. I went back on a sunny Sunday to sample their Ala Carte menu.
It was a sunny afternoon when I pushed ajar the thick glass door of Philhellene and stepped inside only to be ushered politely to our reserved table. The family-friendly restaurant bustled with life with the air pregnant with animated conversations and peals of laughter. The beautiful ambiance and the subtle aroma of Greek food filled my senses. The sitting arrangement were simple yet classic with black wood tables and chairs crowded around the sitting area. The soft pastel coloured walls were adorned with beautiful portraits, funky posters and decorations.
I scrutinised the thick menu which dictated the offerings. We soon placed our orders and waited patiently. The food took a while to arrive. Given the houseful state of the restaurant, the delay was not entirely unreasonable. Without further ado, we tucked into our food.
Our entrees comprised of 'Philhellene' calamari and char-grilled octopus. The entrees were made for sharing. Slightly crispy outside and soft inside, the fried calamari left me hungrier for more food. The char-grilled octopus was chewy and oozing a burnt yet tasty flavour. Definitely worth trying, I savoured the octopus and reluctantly shared some with my dining partner.
Calamari and char-grilled octopus (Image by Joya D)
The lamb souvlaki served with a side of cous cous and roasted potatoes rate a glorifying mention. The lamb was grilled and cooked well. The meat was tender but slightly dry. The minted couscous was cold and was infused with a minty flavour and seamlessly complemented the lamb. The roasted potatoes were suffused with olive oil and melted in the mouth like butter. In short, a fulsome and flavoursome dish.
Fetta prawns were the other main we had ordered. I was not wooed by this dish. The huge and succulent king prawns were drool-worthy and were polished off in no time. But the fetta and the tomato salsa was a tad too sour for my taste and failed to hit the right note with my tastebuds.
The highlight of our meal was the baklava served with halva ice-cream. The neat presentation aside, the baklava's sweetness was done to perfection and went down very well with the decadent Halva ice-cream. The presence of the crushed pistachio nuts in the halva ice-cream elevated its taste by manifold. I was pleasantly surprised to find how I had taken a fancy to this dessert since I do not have much of a sweet tooth. Needless to say I licked my spoon clean as I finished the last morsel of this dessert.
I can state that with conviction that the best way to experience Philhellene's offerings is to take advantage of their excellent banquets. Catered for batches of 2 or 3 people, the banquets are awe-inspiring and enable guests to sample an impressive amount and range of food. My personal favourite is the Classic Banquet at $48 per person for 3 people. Comprising of 11 items including a cup of coffee, this banquet is a fabulous choice for savouring Philhellene's sumptuous food.
Philhellene hosts special events and also caters for family functions and corporate events. You can learn more about Philhellene Provincial Greek Cuisine by visiting their website or following them on Facebook. To avoid any disappointment, make reservations before you venture inside Philhellene.
Philhellene Provincial Greek Cuisine is parched on 551-553 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds. The highly accessible restaurant can be reached both by car or public transport. If public transport is your preferred mode of commute then you will love to hear that this restaurant is located minutes away from Stop 32 for Tram 59 and is only a small walk away from Moone Ponds railway station.
If you are looking for an authentic Greek experience then Philhellene Provincial Greek Restaurant will appeal to both your tummy and soul.