In Short: Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill located in King St Wharf is your destination for a Greek cuisine experience. Try a mezze with kataifi mastica cream with fresh fig and candied pistachios and wash it down with a cocktail and you will depart feeling very satisfied.
We have had the opportunity to dine at a number of quality Italian restaurants over the past 18 months. Restaurants like Cucinetta and Entrata quickly spring to mind. Now, it is time to sample that other great ancient Mediterranean cuisine that is Greek cuisine. It was our first visit to Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill at King St Wharf, and only our second Greek meal of the year.
We came with positive vibes. Just the day prior, I had been talking to one of my daughter’s classmate’s father who recounted many a Sunday down at King St Wharf where the family would go bowling at Strike Bowling and then retreat to a lazy lunch at Georges. Its harbour side location is an obvious draw, but other facets like the choice to dine indoors or outdoors combined with warm and attentive service, really does add appeal to the experience.
If there is one cheese that would get me traveling miles for, it is without doubt haloumi cheese. A Greek meal is simply incomplete without a take on Haloumi. There is nothing like the salty, creamy flavours of a good haloumi cheese. Grilled, you experience that crusty outer and then a squeaky, bubbly centre. Pairing it with compressed watermelon at Georges was new to me, yet I totally got it. Amalgamation of the sweet of watermelon with the salty of the haloumi, is not only harmonious it’s damn good!
Another quintessential Greek entree is the Spanakopita. Spanakopita is layers of flaky filo pastry filled with a mixture of spinach, feta cheese and spring onions. I love Spanakopita immensely because it heroes one of my favourite vegetables, spinach. The combination of 3 simple ingredients makes up the filling, which is then wrapped in layers of crispy flaky filo pastry. Because it is so simple to make, every Greek household pretty much has their own version of it and George’s spanakopita tastes just like how I would imagine a Yaya (Greek for Grandma) would make it. Crispy on the outside with rich, creamy flavours that burst in your mouth as you bite into the crispy pastry, it is comfort food at its best.
Deep Fried Squid (kalamarakia-tiganita) sounds like an easy dish to prepare for competent chefs but not so for mere mortals like myself. Firstly, the batter has to be light yet crunchy, lightly coating each portion of the squid, making it crispy on the outside but not compromising the natural flavours of the squid and finally the most important thing is to not overcook it. It should be just right when the batter is golden brown on the outside, yet tender and perfectly seasoned on the inside. Served with zucchini fritters, aioli and lemon, this golden dish is proof that sometimes less is good and when the recipe works, you just let the classic pairing of flavours and skill in cooking do the talking.
If you are not a fan of deep fried food, but still enjoy seafood, you are well looked after at Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill with their Kalofagas (grilled octopus). Greeks love their grilled octopus and Georges’ version of the Greek classic is sublime.I can imagine the octopus only needed a couple of minutes on each side to ensure that it was not overcooked. Georges’ nails the Kalofagas dish as their octopus is tender, well seasoned and cooked to perfection. Served with a delicious chick pea salad, this is a fantastic way to enjoy seafood at its finest.
In southeast Asia, we have satay and in Greece, they have chicken souvlaki, which is essentially grilled meat on skewers. But the key difference between the two is in the marinade. Greek Chicken Souvlaki is marinated with lemon, garlic and herbs like oregano. With every mouthful, you get chicken that is well seasoned, bursting with flavours, juicy and tender. Served with pita bread and tzatziki, you have the option of making a wrap by spreading some of the tzatziki in the pita bread and adding a skewer of chicken meat. Or you could, like me, enjoy it like a deconstructed meal and savouring each morsel of the bread, tzatziki and chicken on its own.
Continuing with the little plates of protein deliciousness was Georges take on Beef Kefta stuffed with Green Olives in a Tomato Sauce. Chunky meatballs of beef mixed with a delicious surprise of a green olive that infuses a nice briny, yet sweet dimension of flavour. Finally a tasty and rich tomato sauce completes this tasty treat!
Georges has a good selection of drinks to accompany your meal. They have wine, spirits and even house mocktails. One of the mocktails that we had on our visit was a Sweet Mandy, which is made with orange, passionfruit & ruby grapefruit juice. With fresh, citrusy flavours from the orange and grapefruit combined with the sweetness and aroma of passionfruit, it’s refreshing and deliciously balanced.
If you are not a fan of citrus flavours, another house mocktail that is served at Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill is the Twig ‘n Berries. Made with crushed lime, strawberry, cinnamon and mint and shaken with cranberry then topped with soda, this drink derives its ruby red colours from the strawberry and cranberry, combine with mint and soda, and just a pinch of cinnamon, to give this mocktail a unique flavour on its own. It is also very festive drink that reminds me of Christmas both from the colours and flavours.
A Bougatsa is a Greek dessert with a custard-like creamy centre wrapped with layers of flaky filo pastry. Georges’ Chocolate Bougatsa is served with sour cherry and cream. The sour cherry diffuses the sweetness of the chocolate sauce. But its really the chocolate filo parcel in the middle of the plate that takes centre stage. The filo pastry gives off a satisfying crunchy sound when you bite into it, revealing a creamy chocolaty, mousse-like centre. This is a dessert that is perfectly balanced in flavours and super luxurious, guaranteed to satisfy any chocoholic!
While each dessert was just divine, for me the refined take on kataifi in the form of a Kataifi Mastica Cream with Fresh Fig and Candied Pistachios was the calling card. Presentation was exquisite. I loved seeing each component of the dessert. Fresh fig contrasts with the white of the mastica cream. Digging in and tasting the shredded filo combined with the mastica cream was simply divine. I enjoyed the floral flavours of the cream. It was sweet, yet not too intense and the fig freshens the palate nicely. A thoroughly enjoyable dessert.
Sometimes after a satisfying main meal, all you really need is a simple flavourful cake to finish off. This is when Georges’ Candied Orange and Almond Cake ticks all the boxes. A dense cake with an amazing explosion of citrus flavours, this is one cake that I wish I could ask the chef for the recipe. In keeping with Georges’ recurring theme, yoghurt is used to impart a tarty punch to balance the flavours.
While many eat to live, at Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill you live to eat glorious food packed with flavour. What’s more you get it do by the water. Even as an uncharacteristic November tropical like storm swept through, we sat through it, protected from the elements and as the sun came back out, service continued smoothly and we continued to enjoy the feast. The staff were unflappable, full of smiles and ready to help. They were also quick to scoot to any table when assistance was required.
Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill has all the bases covered with diverse menu offering, comfortable dining spaces, views and warm hospitality. As an added bonus, if you need breakfast, they have you covered as well, as they are one of the few restaurants in the precinct that does a brew and breakfast service!