Yianni is the owner of Zimari and has had the restaurant/cafe for nearly 3 years of the 5 years he's been in Melbourne. The name of the restaurant comes from the Hellenic word for 'dough', hand-made from the purest ingredients and baked fresh to serve as the staple of every meal. His love for cooking comes from the influences of his mother and grandmother to whom he's very close. His vision is to keep the food home style, healthy and well balanced, cooked with pure virgin olive oil and herbs. You shall not find any fried foods and 'chips' here !
He's taken on some of the traditional Greek foods influenced by the island of Crete and put a modern twist on it, keeping the flavours wholesome and simple. Just out of range of the busy Chapel street Prahran area, one can have a freshly cooked meal and a hot cuppa in a relaxed atmosphere. When I was there the staff was attentive and the food arrived in good time.
On the menu for appetisers there are Olives, Pickled Octopus, Tirokafteri (baked feta with tomato and chilli) and Dakakia (Cretan briuschetta with mizithra cheese and crushed tomato). Share plates include oven potatoes, Spanakopita, Saganaki, Tigania, Mix Keftedes and Ouzo Prawns. There is also a variety of Souvas and salads. Mains include Baked Lamb, Lamb Cutlets, Chicken skewers, Prawn Saganaki, Swordfish Steak and Fakki (lentils and vegetables served with pita bread). You can also order a mixed grill for a minimum of 2 people and he caters for set menu banquets.
We ordered the Zimari Big Breakfast and the Builder as it's called which consists of 2 eggs, meatballs, feta, avocado, tomato salsa and pita bread. We demolished both and enjoyed every morsel. You can also add extras for around $3 - $4 an item. He has an Omelette Bar option where all omelettes are made with 3 eggs and served with warm pita bread. The omelette choices have names like Popeye, Mushroom-O-Poulos, Eggplant-Aki, Atlantic, The Deli, Meatballs Fritata, Sag-Omelett and Athletic (i.e. 4 egg whites, chicken fillet, mushrooms and spinach).
There are the usual beverages and prices on the menu for meals ranging from $7 to $27, with the average range falling around the $18 mark. Home-made sweets and biscuits sit at the counter and range from $2.50 to $7 with choices of Apple Tourta, Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Karidopita (Walnut cake) Kourabies (Almond shortbread) and Yianni's favourite, Portokalopita (yoghurt, filo-pastry and orange syrup cake). Their website seems not to be working but they do have a Facebook Page.