Bahari, Richmond – great food and great (looking) service

On Valentine’s Day Tom took me to a large renowned restaurant. The food was divine and the atmosphere was lovely, yet I’m not in a hurry to go back. You see, the waitresses were teenagers who had to run off to the kitchens every time I had a question about the menu, and couldn’t even pronounce their wine list, let alone give recommendations. I sat wondering why I had read so many good reviews when I noticed an experienced man targeting a couple of tables of wealthy looking people. He was charming, giving details on each dish and detailed recommendations.

What a wonderful way to show the rest of your 100-odd guests that they’re not worth the same dining experience.

I rate the service I receive just as much as I rate the food I eat, which is why Richmond’s Bahari has become a favourite of mine.

Set on Swan Street, Bahari only has 10-15 tables, therefore (as far as I could tell) each had the attention of one of the two owners, with a couple waitresses helping out. The owners, Phil and Stell, manage the place seamlessly, working in the kitchen, serving tables and seating guests. They’re two Tasmanian guys of Greek heritage who just seem so damn chuffed to be doing what they do (side note for the ladies – they’re pretty cute too!)

Stell and Phil from Bahari. Taken from instagram @bahari_richmond

If you recognise Phil, it’s because he was a Masterchef contestant on season 2 – top 12 apparently. And it shows, although there are your traditional Greek dishes, they definitely have a “Masterchef” type feel to them – they call it ‘Gringlish’ (Greek/English).

Phil on Masterchef in 2010

If I had to choose a word to describe the food, it would be flavoursome. Everything was seasoned perfectly and the meat just falls apart in your mouth. The serving sizes are generous, leaving the three of us very full after sharing. Here is what we ordered:

Chicken and haloumi meatballs with a tomato and feta sauce.
Greek salad (feta on the side for my pregnant sister)
Pulled lamb shoulder
Chocolate mouse

For small plates, the saganaki was nice, but my pick for cheeses would be the haloumi we’ve had in the past. It’s to die for. The meat balls were also delicious, the tomato sauce on them was rich, smooth and almost tangy from the feta. The meat, as mentioned, is cooked beautifully. My pick of the salads is the beetroot.

hot tip (1)

I couldn’t fault their desserts. The choc mouse was rich and chocolatey – but not over the top. Last time I was there I had a baklava cheese cake – I’m honestly salavating just thinking about it. Greeks sure know how to rock dessert.

Having never tried Greek wine before, I asked Stell for a recommendation. I’ll put it on record that he did actually recommend a White Dot Maschofilero (similar to a riesling) but when I said I like my wine dry he pointed out a wine which is ‘uniquely Greek’ called Retsina Malamatina. He also checked twice if I was sure about ordering it so I knew I was in for something… special.

Retsina Malamatina – “uniquely Greek” wine

Dry is an understatement, but you become acquired to the taste as you go and I started to enjoy it. There is also over 4 standard drinks in a serve so I was feeling pretty light headed by the end of my casual Thursday night dinner!

richmond bahari the best bits

The best bits…

  1. Great service
  2. “Gringlish” – traditional Greek with a modern twist
  3. A small menu – so that every item is the specialty
  4. Greek wine – it’s something different. Try it!

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