Kate reviews: Greek goodness at Kalimera Souvlaki Art
KALIMERA SOUVLAKI ART
41 Chester St, Oakleigh
If you like your souvas, you may have heard of Oakleigh’s Kalimera Souvlaki Art
before this year. If you’re not so enamoured with the Greek treat, you may not have
heard of it until New York Times food critic Sam Sifton declared in June that he
dreamt about their pork souvlaki for days after trying it while on a visit here. In fact,
he’s even tried to perfect the recipe back home.
It’s probably worth knowing too, then, that Attica’s Ben Shewry returns again and
again for Kalimera’s pork platter – basically a deconstructed version of the souva,
albeit substantially bigger.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, it’s good. And it’s clearly popular. We arrived before midday, by 12.15 the place
was packed. Tables full inside and out in the cold, and a serious queue for takeaway.
It is a souvlaki joint, don’t expect more, but a charming one at that. Family photos on
the wall, fun furniture, and sublime smells.
Yes – there was chicken and lamb on offer, but when Sam Sifton says of the pork
“there was a rich oregano flavor to the meat and a rush of lemon acidity on top of it,
set off with a dusting of paprika and the salty char of the rotisserie” – whaddya
reckon Scorch and I went for!?!
It’s a bloody good souvlaki, the first pork one I’ve actually had. The meat is moist, it
does have that surprisingly intense oregano flavour. It’s packed into a locally made, soft,
chargrilled pita with house-made tzatziki, tomato, onion, hot chips, and a sprinkling of paprika.
Thankfully it’s wrapped tight with Kalimera-stamped paper – the
structural integrity is good, I was convinced I was going to end up wearing it, or
leaving half behind in the bottom of the wrapper. I drove away still tasting it, and still
smiling. At $9, it was stupendous value.
Scorcher went for the pork platter, all the same ingredients, just in more generous
These guys are pretty serious about their ingredients, they say they are authentic,
and top quality. They boast on their menu that they use the finest olive oil, hand-
made bread, female pork, and oregano all the way from Greece.
We also forked out to try the interesting sounding Cretan Dakos salad – as salty and
tasty as you’d expect a salad from that part of the world to be. Tomato, capers, feta,
oregano, barley rusks and plenty of olive oil. It’s easily shareable at $11.
To wet your whistle – well there are local and Greek soft drinks or Mythos beer.
It’s no surprise that you can get a good souvlaki in Oakleigh, but it’s worth knowing
that you can get a great souvlaki at Kalimera Souvlaki Art.