With Canberra’s international fare continuing to become more and more diverse, ‘authentic’ is a word that’s thrown around so liberally. The evolution of the city’s dining scene is a milestone in itself, and it’s great to have so many different cuisine options at our fingertips, but how many are really an accurate representation of its home?
For those in search of authentic Greek food, bypass the chain stores and fast food street vans, and make your way to The Hellenic Club in Woden to taste Orexi for yourself.
Boasting a menu of traditional and modern dishes that challenge our conventional perception of Greek food, Orexi offers a Greek dining experience like no other and is part of the $2 million renovation of The Hellenic Club Woden, including a new ground floor lounge and fireplace – with Orexi the centrepiece of the development.
“We know that along with upgrading our facilities, we also need to be continually innovating our food and beverage offering to remain competitive and relevant in Canberra’s restaurant scene, which has matured significantly over the past 3 years,” President of The Hellenic Club, Andrew Satsias, says.
In partnership with Greek celebrity chef, Yiannis Baxevanis, the restaurant brings the authentic and vibrant flavours of Mediterranean gastronomy to the Canberra community.
“We are the first in the local club industry to bring such a high-profile, talented and globally focused chef to a community club in the ACT,” Satsias adds.
Baxevanis is a household name across Greece and one of the most awarded chefs in his homeland and abroad, where he operates several leading restaurants.
Orexi is Baxevanis’ first foray into the Australian market, having already set up successful venues in Dubai, South Africa, Lausanne and more.
In 1991 at the Hilton Hotel of Strasberg France, he received his very first medal at the International Gastronomic Exposition. He’s also won the Chef of the Future Award from the Académie Gastronomique Internationale and has an impressive 12 Golden Hats under his culinary belt.
Described as ‘The Greek magician of aromatic herbs’, Baxevanis has created a menu for Orexi that makes his country proud. Dining at the restaurant is quite literally like drinking from the fountain of youth – the menu is unintentionally filled with ingredients which assist in health, healing and therapeutic benefits. So that’s how the Greeks stay looking young!
The variety of dishes feature spontaneity, freshness, vibrant colours and plenty of aromas. Each containing all the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, iron, vitamins and much more.
The fit-out reflects the menu – light, refreshing and perfect for sharing. And the Orexi dining experience feels like a warm extension of a traditional Greek dining table.
So now you’ve decided to book a table but aren’t too sure where to start? Here are our top picks from the menu that we’ve hand selected with the help of Orexi’s passionate chefs, to experience an all-encompassing sample of the authentic cuisine of Greece.
The perfect starter is a combination of traditional dips. Why not try all three on offer with a selection of breads and olives? The Taramas dip comprises white fish roe, lemon and red onion; the Tyrokafteri dip is made of feta and chilli; and the classic Tzatziki dip contains Greek yoghurt, cucumber and garlic.
If you’re still feeling peckish make sure you try the Koyloyri. The lamb meatballs are star of the dish, while the light yoghurt dressing adds a creamy element to the palate and the green aromatic salad leaves a lingering hint of fragrance that keeps you going back for more.
A crowd favourite and is the Greek Salad with capers, tomato and cucumber. At first bite the much-loved combination of ingredients burst with the crunch of the cucumber, smoothness of the feta and aroma of herbs. All brought together seamlessly with a drizzle of olive oil, this dish can be enjoyed as a light meal or as a tasty side to share.
For main, the stunning Fresh Fish Sofegada commands your attention as it’s brought to the table. The whole fish is stuffed with green leaves and cooked in a wood-fired oven, then accompanied with a rich garlic and chilli oil. The fish is perfectly cooked – crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside and full of wholesome flavour.
Order the Fasolakia to have as a side to the fish and you will not be disappointed! Fasolakia comprises crunchy, fresh green beans atop a tomato vinaigrette and sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese. The colours of green, red, orange and white showcase the freshness of the ingredients sourced and the simplicity of Greek cooking at its best.
Similar to Yia-Yia not letting you leave her house happy and well fed, you can’t leave Orexi without ordering at least one of its desserts. We recommend the Baxevanis Baklava served with sweet syrup and ice-cream. Layered beautifully and topped off with micro flowers and a dusting of icing sugar, this dessert tastes as good as it looks and is the perfect way to round out your Orexi feast.
If you haven’t yet seen Hellenic Club Woden’s gorgeous refurbishment, now you have no excuse. Not only will you be pleasantly surprised by its revamp, but you’ll also discover some of the best authentic Greek cuisine in town – simple, aromatic, refreshing and true to its home.