My Day in Oakleigh

May 10, 2012

Last weekend I caught up with my friend C for a casual hang out in Oakleigh. Despite being a bit of a drive from where I live, I really enjoy the culture of the place – we went on a Saturday and the main street was hopping with people window shopping, chatting over coffees or tucking into lunch.
I was on a mission to find the best souvlaki on offer, and upon the recommendation of a family member decided to try out Orexi, which is a small place that also does take away.

Orexi

3/18 Eaton Street, Oakleigh

They do “fancy” (read: non-Greek) souvlaki as well, things like felafel or chicken with caesar dressing or tandoori marinade, but I say stick with what is known and tried and get either chicken or lamb off the spit with salad and tzatziki, no frills. Here is C’s open chicken souvlaki, the meat was delicious and tender, and had a beautiful smokey taste.

My lamb souvlaki was delicious. Only three bites in and I had juice dribbling down my chin but didn’t care; you’ve really just got to attack these babies with two hands and no inhibitions. It’s the most satisfying way.

Afterwards, we strolled along Eaton Street for a bit, admiring the the 12 year old boys with moustaches that’d put a grown man to shame. At the end of the street is Niko, a Greek cake institution, and one which I’ve always visited whenever I’m in the area.

Niko

25 Portman Street, Oakleigh

The window is a real sight – pyramids of Greek biscuits and baklava and cream-filled cakes, all piped freshly that day. Baklava, kataifi, loukoumades, almond biscuits and semolina cakes all compete for attention in this window of goodies. The ladies behind the counter are loud and officious; they speedily cram cakes into take away boxes as grandmothers vie for a position on the front counter to buy sweets. Niko also does savory food, and I can attest to the virtues of a slice of their spanokopita, it’s delicous!

I love these biscuits, my mum used to give them to me in my school lunches. They’re like a crumbly shortbread in shell-shapes with jam in the middle, one half dipped in chocolate. I always preferred the chocolate end, so would try and finish there but would end up with melted chocolate all over me and a fine yellow crumb on my clothes. Pure nostalgia.

C had a galaktoboureko (baked-custard filled pastry brick) and a coffee. Greek coffee, which is pretty much the same thing as Turkish coffee, is a thick, intense sludge that comes black and has the consistency of mud. I find it intolerably strong so steer well clear of the stuff.

I was tempted by the kataifi (which is essentially the same ingredients as baklava but with shredded filo pastry instead) but I did enjoy my walnut baklava, almost as good as my mum’s version! Excellent vanilla/cinnamon syrup that didn’t completely drench the cake. In all, a relaxed and cheery visit to Oakleigh; my family also benefitted from the large box of sweets I took home with me!

Orexi Souvlaki Bar Cafe on Urbanspoon Nikos Quality Cakes on Urbanspoon

Filed under: Greek, Oakleigh

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