32 Russell Street, South Brisbane
Marc and I made it into Hellenic House on our second trip there. The first time, we had made a booking yet somehow, administrative oversight led to the entire restaurant being occupied by a private function that night. I thought I was walking into some weird gypsy dance hall but it was just someone's theme party. We were turned away by bouncers at the front door, which put a real damper on our mood.
Nonetheless, we persevered and made a second booking, this time assured that the restaurant was indeed operating as normal. As we made our way up to Hellenic House again, we crossed our fingers that there wouldn't be a repeat of the first incident.
As its name suggests, the restaurant does ressemble a house, and it's perched on the top of a mini hill. At night time, it looks almost foreboding with the front columns casting long shadows down below. Hellenic House did not become any less bizare the closer we got.
When we got to the top, we noticed several large tables of people eating outdoors. We tentatively stepped inside and saw that the inside of the restaurant was, well, not really a restaurant. There were unoccupied pool tables, a pinball machine, a vast stretch of nothingness and at the far end of the hall, an open kitchen and counter. We progressed towards the counter and were greeted by a couple of Korean girls.
After informing them of our booking, we were led outdoors again, this time to the side of the restaurant where there were a few other tables of diners. We were relieved. It was such a strange environment indoors we would have felt extremely awkward eating there.
Marc had a voucher for food so we didn't have to pick dishes. There was a set menu of items.
Bread and tzatziki
Bread and dip arrived to start with. The bread was just a conventional white roll (served cold), not dissimilar to the supermarket variety. I did like the dip though, which was a chunky tzatziki that tasted homemade and very fresh.
Next came the Greek salad. It contained all the usual suspects of tomato, cucumber, olives and feta. Marc avoided this because he's not a fan of tomatoes or olives. I normally like Greek salad so I munched away at this but it was fairly unexciting.
The grilled haloumi was to my liking. It wasn't the best haloumi I've tried and seemed a tad dry but even bad haloumi tastes good to me. I think I carry some degree of bias.
Grilled lemon and herb calamari
The calamari was grilled and seasoned with lemon and herbs. It wasn't too bad. The lemon gave it a nice freshness. I'm not crazy about calamari cooked this way but I still ate some.
I thought the chips were a big disappointment. They seemed undercooked and they weren't crispy at all. Even the insides were a bit powdery.
The chicken souvla was a small serve but the meat was nice and juicy. It had really simple flavors but they worked.
Baklava and semolina sponge cake
To finish our meal, we were given the option of soft drinks, coffee or desserts. Hell, I can get coffee or soft drink anywhere. We went for the dessert. Try comprehending long, Greek dessert names spoken with a Korean accent. It's not easy! I chose the baklava, something I was familiar with. Marc went with the semolina sponge cake that neither of us knows the name of. I loved the baklava. I hadn't had any in so long... it was great to revisit the nutty syrupy flakiness. Marc said the sponge cake was "good" and "like a sponge cake".
I was unimpressed with Hellenic House. Not only did they stuff up our first booking, the food was nothing special. Our waitresses were nice but the whole environment felt weird to me. There's plenty of other Greek restaurants around West End to peck at instead.