Happy New Year! Subterranean Greek Bar & Grill, GPO Sydney

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas and New Year was filled with love, fun and laughter. Of course, nothing says the holidays quite like a Christmas feast, and I hope yours was full of lots and lots of wonderful food. The Holidays also mean more time to eat and try cooking new things, and lots of surprises can come along the way.

Doesn't it surprise you when you think you know an area, but no matter how many times you walk there or drive past, there always seems to be something new; something you didn't know was there before? I can't say I'm an expert when it comes to navigating the busy streets of Sydney CBD, but it never ceases to amaze me just how many hidden nooks and crannies there are in the city that are also great places to eat. And finding them is only half the fun.

We were in the city completing some errands just last week when lunchtime rolled around and we were rewarded with a nice lunch. Where else could there be more lavish, wide-spread and luxurious dining options than the heart of Sydney? Smitten with choice, we turned up to Jamie's Italian just after 1pm and were presented with a 45 minute wait before deciding to go elsewhere. Instead, we wandered up Pitt Street and around Martin Place to the GPO after a suggestion by Mum. Having never heard of the GPO before, we made our way up Martin Place to a beautiful old building that contained a number of shops, restaurants and a hotel. This was the GPO, previously home to Sydney's old General Post Office. Inside it was just as grand, with tiled floors that lead down a marbled staircase to below-ground dining area.

Here, people on their lunch breaks were enjoying some pre-holiday season drinks and meals, the atmosphere exciting and lighting dim. The communal casual seating area outside the few eateries meant that you could order from any without having to eat in, instead taking a buzzer that beeped when your order was ready. Among them was an Oyster and Wine Bar, outdoor pizza station and, further in, a Greek bar and grill, which was where we decided to go for lunch.

Along one side sits a long bar, mounted behind which is a large blackboard listing the menu and drinks. The far side of the restaurant is home to an open grill and kitchen behind glass which adds to the loud, noisy buzz of patrons.

I drool upon opening the menu, which is categorised into Mezze plates, salads, entrees, main courses from the grill, meat, seafood, pasta, vegetarian and salads, ribs and burgers - all of which are prices reasonably under $30. It is clear that the grill dominates at this Sydney Greek eatery.

Zucchini and Haloumi Fritters ($9.90)

Being a table of four, we start with a plate of Zucchini and Haloumi Fritters which come lightly fried alongside a delicious garlic and basil aioli. They look much like flattened out arancini; the crisp, golden outside encasing a creamy, green-flecked filling. It reminds me of a cheese and spinach filling, and the haloumi goes perfectly with the soft zucchini without being too overpowering or salty.

Greek Salad (main size $14.90) and Grilled Barramundi ($19.90)

We also order a Greek Salad, which is bright and punchy. The dressing makes the cucumber, tomato, olives and fetta shine. Nothing like a bit of salad to balance out a meat-filled meal!

CK had the grilled Barramundi fillet, a large piece of fish that comes with salad and chips. It's nicely grilled, and the fillet is quite a generous serving.

Lamb Loin ($18.50)

I ordered the chargrilled lamb loin on the bone, which came as 3 lamb loin chops along with a salad, warm pita bread and tzaziki as well as a wedge of lemon. The lamb, despite being a cut I normally don't eat, was surprisingly tender and cooked a little pink in the centre. The parsley sprinkled on too and tzaziki went really well with it, and the pita bread was smothered in garlic and toasted to a beautiful chewiness.

Mixed Grill Souvlaki Plate ($29)

Mum shared the mixed grill plate with S, a mish-mash of prawns, chicken and marinated lamb pieces threaded onto metal skewers with a sprinkling of parsley and lemon, tzaziki and a capsicum dip on the side, called Tirokaferti. The dip was a creamy, orange mixture of roasted capsicums and feta, and provided a wonderful, garlicky accompaniment to the grilled meats. Garlic pita bread and chips came with it as well and the chunks of meat were flavoursome and tasty.

Greek food is something we don't have a lot, but when we do I really enjoy it. I love my meat, and no other cuisine does meat quite as well as Greek.

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