It’s called Orexi by Baxevanis and it’s a modern, upmarket eatery complete with cocktail bar from a international consultant Greek chef Yiannis Baxevanis.

Baxevanis has consulted on 12 restaurants in Greece and a string of others in the Middle East and Europe. This will be his first Australian eatery.

orexi2Orexi by Baxevanis Photo: Karleen Minney.

The restaurant has a muted Mediterranean feel with sea blue accents, white rattan chairs, and blonde wood tables. Gleaming exposed-filament lamps hang over the tables, small pot plants dot the room and a variety of Greek wines and ouzos will be dispensed from the bright white cocktail bar at the back. There’s even a feature glass wall of large Greek amphorae, just in case you didn’t get the memo. And Orexi means “appetite” in Greek.

Joanna Stavaras is the owner of Ten Steps, the restaurant consultancy business that brought Baxevanis to Australia.

“The concept is to create a microcosm of Greek culture, daily Greek culture, which is the food, the way we eat, the way we cook, the flavours and the products,” she says.

orexi3Owner Joanna Stavaras. Photo: Karleen Minney

“He provides the Greek cuisine, the Greek products, the Greek way of eating,” she says.”His way of cooking is he discovers old recipes and ingredients, and he brings them to light with updated techniques.”

A wood fired oven powers the kitchen, where chefs imported from Greece will cook up traditional savoury pastries such as horrtopita which is stuffed with gruyere cheese, spinach and herbs.

Stavaras describes the menu as a “big Greek hug”, and says both Ten Steps and the Hellenic Club wanted the restaurant to connect with second- and third-generation Greek Australians who may be drifting out of touch with their heritage.

“Greek culture for eating is sharing food –  this is what we recommend. We share thoughts, we share opinions, so we share food. We share bites and we say, ‘Did you like that? No? Try this one.”‘ she says.

“In one dish you can introduce our culture, the way that you cook, the way that you eat, the techniques.”

There will be staples like moussaka and souvlaki but perhaps slightly less well known dishes such as seafood risoni with herbs.

“For example we have beef stifado. Stifado is a traditional Greek recipe with rabbit and eschallots with tomato sauce and spices like cinnamon and cloves. Here you can have it in the contemporary way with beef, more updated,” Stavaras says.

Baxevanis will arrive in Canberra for the restaurant’s grand opening in November and if all goes well, there are plans to expand to other cities such as Melbourne.

Orexi by Baxevanis is at the Hellenic Club on Matilda Street, Phillip,

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