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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 November 2018
12 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Peter Conistis turns Geelong’s Greek Customs House into a seafood taverna PHOTO: FACEBOOK Venus & Co. recognised as the Best Greek Restaurant in Australia by the Restaurant and Catering Association W ith flavours originating from the island of Aphrodite, fused with Melbourne's creative culinary flair, chef Steve Watson and restaurateur Nicholas Georgiades have joined forces with a combined 50 years of expertise in the hospitality industry and poured it into Venus & Co, the former site of Greek institution Stavros Tavern in Albert Park. When Neos Kosmos featured Venus & Co last August, the establishment, that gets its name from the goddess of beauty, had just won the top prize in the Greek Restaurant category at the prestigious 2018 Victoria & Tasmania Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence. From day one, Georgiades and Watson have been committed to creating a memorable dining experience for Venus & Co customers. Their attention to detail and professionalism is what makes them such amazing hosts and won them the title of the Best Greek Restaurant in Australia by the Restaurant and Catering Association. This second award, came on their one year anniversary as one more recognition for their impeccable dishes and service. "We at Venus & Co present an authentic style of food and drink, using high quality produce, and applying traditional recipes, which honour our customs and cultural background," said the owners. "Our cuisine is provincial Greek Cypriot, with a modern and fresh twist, a happy mixture of Greek, Lebanese-Syrian and Arabic cuisines and spices, which have been derived from the centuries of cultural influences surrounding the island." The team took to Facebook to announce the achievement. "We're honoured to be recognised as the Best Greek Restaurant in Australia by the Restaurant and Catering Association!" they wrote, inviting their customers for a celebratory drink. Find out more at venusandco.com.au chefs, Peter Conistis is coming to Victoria for the first time with a plan to not only restore Geelong's The Greek Customs House to its old glory, but to turn it into the state's top seafood-focused taverna. The heritage-listed Customs House sits right on the Geelong waterfront and has the capacity to host 80 inside and about 50 in the courtyard. Conistis, whose philosophy and delicious fusion Hellenic dishes shot Sydney's Alpha restaurant to fame, wants to create a modern yet traditional beach side taverna that will use as much local and fresh produce as possible. "Coming from Sydney, I'm amazed at how good it is and how close to Geelong it's grown," Conistis said. "It's only a short car trip away. Sourcing the freshest local ingredients along with the authentic O ne of Sydney's most popular and esteemed Greek Greek and Mediterranean flavours, our menu offers something for everybody." The 57 Brougham Street establishment set to open on 23 November will have a big display of seafood for guests to select from near the front of the dining room. There will also be an open barbecue-style setting in the courtyard where seafood can be cooked over charcoal and olive wood in front of the customers. "With our professional team lead by our Greek head chef and attentive front of house staff we aim to offer an exceptional dining experience. "Our authentic menu, immerses diners into the surrounds of the Greek to deliver a European experience on the waterfront that ensured it is a destination venue." The Greek Customs House offers full table service daily, from 12 noon until late. There is also music featuring a broad range of Greek and other European artists. PHOTOS: THE GREEK /FACEBOOK Yo-Chi and Jimmy Grants meet in Bondi Junction Following the acquisition of the popular frozen yoghurt brand, George Calombaris to launch Made Foundation, a support platform for all his employees G eorge Calombaris is taking on a new challenge, two to be precise - this time in New South Wales. The Greek Cypriot Masterchef judge has decided to venture into the Sydney market following the success of his now 14 Melbourne establishments under the Press Club, Hellenic Republic, Gazi and Jimmy Grants brand names. With two Jimmy Grants souvlaki joints already in Westfield and Newtown, Calombaris has his eye set on Bondi Junction where he chose to launch a hybrid eatery, combining the souva with frozen yoghurt. The celebrity chef's mother company Made Establishment Group, acquired the popular frozen yoghurt chain YoChi last February; joining the two businesses has been on Calombaris' mind since the acquisition. "It probably is and will be our biggest challenge," he told Broadsheet, however he believes that the souvlaki and frozen yoghurt partnership is a natural step for the business in Bondi Junction given that both staples are super popular and Greeks happen to be the main consumers, especially when it comes to Greek yoghurt. "They're different cities. People go on about that whole Sydney/Melbourne rubbish – I don't buy into it. I buy into the fact they're both wonderful and they've both got their own beauties. "It's a different market up here; they know what a kebab is up here, 100 per cent, but they don't know what a souva is. That's what we've learned quickly." Acquiring Yo-Chi and taking both the Jimmy Grants and Yo-Chi brand names into Sydney comes after a hard financial year for Calombaris, a year that also saw the famous chef's company receive waves of negative publicity. After back-paying 160 Made Establishment employees a good $2.6 million in under-paid wages last year, he was faced with an assault conviction following a footie match. "We owned up to our own mistakes, we stood by them. We could have run away … but it's not what we were going to do; that's not in our DNA," Calombaris admitted before announcing the launch of Made Foundation, a new support platform for the 642 Made Establishment group staff, emphasising health and mindfulness with the hope of it becoming a positive influence for the rest of the industry. "There's no question about it – the Made Establishment family really got bruised and battered over the last couple of years, but … without what happened and the knocks we copped, we wouldn't be in this space right now. (...) I've got to stand up and be a role model. I have to accept failures and own up to mistakes, but also show that you can get past them and you can get better through your mistakes."
10 November 2018
24 November 2018