Seafood always tastes better eaten by the sea in Summer. It’s one of those universal truths. I spent the weekend down in Lorne and worked up a serious seafood craving with all that sun, sand and surf. So to get my seafood fix I headed to A La Grecque in nearby Aireys Inlet with Meat-and-Three-Veg.
A La Grecque is owned by legendary restauranteurs Kosta and Pam Talimanidis who used to run Kosta’s Greek restaurant in Lorne. Kosta is still working the floor (he was there on our visit) and Pam is behind the stoves. It’s probably quite a canny move to relocate to Airey’s Inlet as there are less restaurants there to compete with and most fans of the pair in Lorne are prepared to make the drive. The restaurant is located by the side of the Great Ocean Road rather than overlooking the sea, putting the focus firmly on the food rather than any view.
The menu features classic Greek taverna dishes which are executed in an under stated way. There’s nowhere to hide and the simple cooking lets the quality of the produce shine through. The char grilled octopus ($20) to start is cooked perfectly so it is soft but not rubbery with a hint of smoky char. Its accompanied with just a scattering of oregano and a squeeze of lemon. The serving size errs on the small size but the flavours are spot on.
Char grilled lamb rump ($36) is cooked to blush pink and I love the combination of lamb with smoky grilled eggplant and garlic slow roasted until it is like a paste. But the most impressive main is the snapper ($35) with its crisp skin and pearly white flesh which flakes apart on the fork. The fish is served on a herb puree which adds some moisture without overwhelming the fish.
Desserts are a little bit Greek and a little bit Aussie (there’s a pav on the menu). I opted for what amounts to a deconstructed crumble made with pears cooked in muscat ($13). The pears are served sprinkled with almond crumble with a dollop of sherry vinegar ice-cream and tiny meringues. Like the rest of our meal at A La Grecque it’s simple food stylishly done.
I really enjoyed the food at A La Grecque. The restaurant is quite pricey for what it is, but worth a visit for a treat. Bring on the sunny food for sunny days.
Details: A La Grecque, 60 Great Ocean Rd, Aireys Inlet (Ph 03 5289 6922)
Damage: Pricey. Our meal for two came to $160.