We've had bacon with pancakes and fried chicken with waffles, but what about a gyros with sausage, egg and... a syrup-soaked donut? It's the kind of madcap offering that puts a glint in the eye of David Tsirekas. The Greek chef - ex-Perama and ex-Xanthi - is back in the 'burbs and at the forefront of a gyros tidal wave that seems to be sweeping across Sydney.
Pork souvlaki kalamaki on the charcoal barbecue $4.50 per skewer
Kefi's Souvlaki Bar has prime position on Kingsgrove Road, just a few shops down from Kingsgrove train station. The dine-in Kefi Tavern opened next door about a month ago, but on a weekend lunchtime, most locals are more interested in takeaway souvlaki. The queue at the register is constant. Order and pay at the cashier and then hover close by until your name is called.
Giant gyros spits
There are only three tables inside but if the weather's fine, the outdoor tables are just as pleasant, even if the view is mostly of passing traffic. While you wait for your order, you can spy on everything happening in the kitchen, set up behind panes of glass. The slowly rotating giant gyros spits are almost hypnotic to look at.
Pork gyro $8
The menu is surprisingly extensive given the market is mostly takeaway. Calamari, octopus, king prawns, pork neck and haloumi are all available on the barbecue grill. We'll have to come back next time for the kokoretsi ($42), a traditional dish of lamb intestines wrapped around a mix of offal.
We're all about the gyro today though, variations of protein wrapped up in a fluffy rounds of warm fresh pita bread with salad. The classic gyro comes with pork, chicken or lamb. We can't decide which one to choose until the cashier says "get the pork. It's the best one".
She's on the money. The pork is succulent and juicy, jammed into a handheld torpedo of pita bread, tomato, onion, parsley and several hot chips for crunch. Squiggles of tzatziki and their housemade mustard mayo add zing.
Soft shell crab gyro $9.50
and pork belly baklava gyro $9.50
They do non-standard issue gyros here too. Haloumi pita is perfect for vegetarians, wrapped up with olive tapenade and honey peppered figs. We're onto the soft shell crab version, and the pork belly baklava one too.
Soft shell crab gyro $9.50
I had doubts about the idea of a soft shell crab gyro but after one bite, I'm a convert. The soft shell crab is fleshy and sweet with a mouthwatering crunch. They're generous with it too. The soft shell crab is packed for the entire length of the pita bread.
The accompanying "Greekslaw" is a little on the sweet side, with a few too many sultanas for my liking, but the sprigs of coriander add a welcome freshness.
Pork belly baklava gyro $9.50
David's signature pork belly baklava lives on. Where it was a fancy plated dish at Xanthi, here it's been deconstructed and taken on a backpacker's holiday. The pork belly baklava gyro has all the familiar components of its predecessor: slow roasted pork belly, date and pistachio paste and glorious tiles of crackling on top. The filo sheets are toasted shards of flaky pastry. Apple mastic mayo brings everything together.
It all combines into one wild party of textures. You kinda feel like you need a beer with this one. If you're anything like me, you'll be saving the crackling for last.
Megas vromiko $11
with regular fries $4.50
BBQ loukaniko, feta, sunny side up egg, chips, mustard mayo, roasted capsicum sauce and two loukoumades balls
Every now and then, David adds a weekend special to the menu. We manage to swing by during his vromiko offer. The vromiko is like a Greek breakfast wrap - slices of spicy loukaniko sausage (made from pork and lamb), a sunny side egg, crumbled feta and chips.
The megas vromiko shifts everything up a gear with the inclusion of two loukoumades donut balls. Sure these are usually eaten as dessert, but somehow the syrup soaked donuts work brilliantly against the backdrop of meat, salt and egg. The roasted capsicum sauce adds a smoky sweet harmony.
"It's the perfect cure for hangovers," we're told, when the server behind the counter hands across our order.
Kefi's loukoumades $6 for 4 pieces
and baklava ice cream
We'd dropped by Kefi anonymously and unannounced (my usual modus operandi), but David spots us and recognises me from a previous event I'd attended. Just when we'd been contemplating dessert, David appears at our table bearing complimentary sweets.
The loukoumades are fresh from the fryer, hot and fluffy with a light dousing of syrup that doesn't overwhelm the palate. I've had loukoumades a couple of times before, but these are some of the best I've had, not doughy nor rubbery nor sickly sweet. You could easily eat several of these in one sitting. The light dusting of crushed pistachio gives a great textural counter.
You can order David's other signature dish, the baklava ice cream at the tavern next door ($12.50) but it isn't usually available from the souvlaki bar. That's a shame because it works a treat after several gyros, the cool vanilla ice cream sandwiched around a filling of baklava nuts and syrup, then drizzled with condensed milk.
There's a good mix of Greek tradition here with room for modern twists to keep everyone on their toes. To keep up-to-date with David's latest specials, follow @dtsirekas on Instagram.
Kefi Souvlaki and Pizza Bar
1/231 Kingsgrove Road, Kingsgrove, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9554 4444
Tuesday and Wednesday 11am-10pm
Thursday to Saturday 11am- 11pm
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9/14/2014 01:30:00 am