We’ve found Hellenic Heaven. Thank us later.
There’s only one Greek on Bridge Road. And we’ve found it. Only a couple of months old, Kritamos already has a steady flow of regulars. Many are Greek immigrants looking for a meal like their mitera’s used to make. Others have wondered in off the street and struck Greek gold.
The name comes from a succulent foraged along the Cretan coast. It features in the restaurant’s specialty, the Kritamos Salad, an attractive pile of red and green goodness sprinkled with pinenuts and olives in a homemade bread bowl. Let the dressing soak into the bread and then break it apart with your hands.
Owner Sifis Tsourdalakis (say that five times fast) decided to share his love of food with Melbourne after a promising musical career led him to sample food from all over Greece. If you’re lucky, he might even pull the lyra off the wall and play you a tune.
While the interior of Kritamos is nothing to write home about – aside from the stunning vintage photographs of Sifis’s relatives – its simplicity places the focus on the food. Kritamos hasn’t been Australian-ized, either. Ninety per cent of the dishes are prepared daily by Sifis’ mother in the kitchen, and she’s hardly about to modernize her cuisine. Even the leaves wrapped snugly around the dolmades are grown in her garden.
Of course there are hearty Greek dishes, such as slow-roasted leg of lamb with oregano and lemon, but what sets Kritamos apart are the authentic mezethes. Order the fava, a traditional split pea puree dip made fresh daily and drizzled with Cretan olive oil, or the Ntako barley rusks topped with fresh tomato and crumbled feta. Make sure you save your dessert stomach for the giant plate of Greek doughnuts, which arrive drowning in honey.
When you’ve had your fill – so by Greek standards, when you can’t walk – Sifis will toast to your health with a shot of sweet Rakomelo. There’s nothing quite like Greek hospitality.
Location: 280 Bridge Rd, Richmond
Open: Lunch Fri-Sun, 11.30am-3pm, Dinner Mon-Sun, 5.30pm ‘til late
Phone: (03) 9428 2222