Tucked away in Turnham Avenue Rosanna is an opportunity for a brilliant Greek feast - Byzantine.
AJ and I were visiting some friends in Melbourne and decided to check out what this Northern Suburb eatery had to offer.
The venue is a large space so noise can be an issue, but in all honesty it is rare to find a Greek restaurant where noise isn't an issue - it is a celebratory cuisine that is bound to bring the banter and joy out diners.
Upon arrival we are greeted by a very friendly waitress who explains the menu options. There is the choice of a-la-carte or banquet. So as to give the kitchen the best test, we opt for the banquet but only for 3 (even though we had four diners) as Byzantine's banquet has a reputation for quite generous sizes.
The wine menu was impressive with a mix of Australian and imported varietals, beers, spirits, cocktails - something for everyone. We had already decided to take advantage of the BYO option which is always a good opportunity to pair a beautiful Shiraz with some flavour packed gyros.
To commence the banquet a big plate of dips is set down on the table; eggplant, tsatziki and taramasalata. A big basket of pita is provided that is constantly refilled which sets us up for failure appetite wise for the rest of the meal.
Next comes the saganaki which is tender yet crisp and a must have in any Greek feast.
The seafood is the next on show; grilled prawns and a seafood saganaki (mussels, calamari, fish, scallops). The prawns are moist and capture the flame grilled flavour. The rich tomato broth makes every morsel of seafood in the saganaki a delight.
To complete the mains a Greek salad and a meat platter is set own for our group to devour. Lamb cutlets, chicken, sausage - all very satisfying.
At this stage of the meal you probably are looking to loosen your belt and head home. But then comes some light sweet relief: turkish delight, baklava, stewed fruits and a greek custard pastry.
As you ponder on how much deliciousness has been consumed you wonder why you haven't been here earlier. The banquet really delivers and is quite reasonably priced. We spent nearly four hours at Byzantine immersed in conversation, great cuisine and felt right at home. Not a fine dining experience but definitely family friendly and great value for money.