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Celebrity chef adds new flavour to Hellenic Club

Laura Peppas

Greek food is having a bit of a moment.

From the openings of casual venues with a “street” take (think Gazi) to fine dining ventures (The Press Club), the cuisine is taking hold in cities such as Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

Admittedly, Canberra has been a bit slow to follow suit, with only one or two options amongst our huge array of eateries to choose from.

Well, those craving a side of saganaki are in luck, with the opening of Orexi (Greek for ‘appetite’) at The Hellenic Club Woden.

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A sneak peek inside the new restaurant.

Opening its doors on 12 September, the venue has a new look, new menu and its own celebrity chef.

Greece’s answer to Matt Moran, Yiannis Baxevanis is an award-winning Greek chef, and a consultant to high-end restaurants in Dubai, South Africa and Switzerland.

Described as “the aroma magician,” he’s a regular on TV screens in his home country, famed for using the roots of Greek cuisine with modern touches.

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Joanna Stavara and Yiannis Baxevanis. Photo: Supplied

Hellenic club general manager Patrick McKenna says Yiannis will control the menu at Orexi, which will be split into a mix of traditional and modern greek food.

“Our members are quite divided in what they like, with such a difference in age, so we thought it was important to really cater to the two,” Patrick says.

“On the menu there will be a lot of seafood, local meats such as lamb and pork, hearty meals like mousakka, and there’ll be a lot of mezze style food, like saganaki, octopus, and calamari,” he says.

“It will be very nice but also casual in a way designed for people to share and to be surrounded by a really good atmosphere.”

Couch

Though meals will be designed to share, Patrick assures me there won’t be any rumbling bellies after the bill is settled.

“Small portions don’t really fly around here,” he says.

“We find that compared to other venues, we serve much bigger portions.”

While Yiannis will oversee the Woden restaurant for about seven months after its launch, his business partner Joanna Stavara will move to Canberra to run the restaurant day to day.

The restaurant’s new fit-out, part of the club’s $2million refurbishment, is a nod to casual dining, with lightweight white chairs and comfortable lounges with turquoise cushions.

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The club’s new lounge area.

Patrick says over 100 wines will be on offer, including Greek wines and ouzo.

“We’ll keep it open late Friday and Saturday,” Patrick says.

“So after dinner the restaurant space will transform into drinks and tapas, and stay open until at least until midnight, and we’ll have some live music too.”

the essentials

What: Orexi
When: Opening from 12 September
How much: Small plates start from $15, larger plates start from $30
Web: https://www.hellenicclub.com.au/events/canberra-restaurant-scene-set-for-international-injection-of-flavour-from-renowned-greek-chef-yiannis-baxevanis/

Restaurant and lounge images: Martin Ollman

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

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