About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, October 16, 2009
The Great Souvlaki Debate
Isn't life funny?

You can be happily giving food bloggers a bit of gratuitous stick one minute, then, out of the blue comes a totally unexpected bagging.


Dave O'Neil, comedian and breakfast announcer on Melbourne's radio station Vega 91.5 fm and champion of the greasy spoon had a few strong words to say about George Colombaris's souvlaki.

According to fellow announcer Dicko (Ian Dickson). O'Neil claimed that Colombaris's souvlaki is no good, preferring those from the former champion Carlton footballer, Anthony Koutafidies's Souvlaki Hut.

The main point of contention was that there was no garlic sauce (tzatziki).

Calombaris's reply stopped me dead in my tracks.

"You can't have garlic sauce in a souvlaki, 'cause you know what, it overpowers it and in Greece you'd never get (it)...."

Well, I might never have been to Greece, but in every recipe and reference around, even Greek ones, garlic sauce is always involved. I wouldn't even consider getting one without it.

Did he say that to defend his use of mustard in its place?

That's no misprint, he uses mustard, saying it makes it 'pop', whatever the hell that means. Mustard in souvlakis is considered heretical by purists, along with the chips that Colombaris also uses.

Yep, chips.

There is something very Michael Jackson about all this. Just as the late pop star's skin changed colour, George's souvlaki is changing nationality, from wog to skip.*

Unfortunately, worse was still to come, O'Neil claiming the meat was too dry and also reporting a conversation he'd had with one of Australia's most respected food critics, Matt Preston, who told O'Neil that a takeaway shop, Lambs in Chapel Street, do a better souvlaki.

Makes you wonder if all the celebrity madness has taken Colombaris's eye off the ball. Given his recent outbursts, not just against bloggers, but also journalists, could he be trying to emulate another international English chef famous for his trash talk?

*Greek to Aussie.
 
  posted at 9:02 pm
  9 comments



9 Comments:
At 5:59 am, Blogger Kalyn said...

You MUST have Tzatziki with Souvlaki. I'm not Greek but I've been to Greece and I'm going to have to insist on it. Tell them I said so!

 
At 3:32 pm, Anonymous Foodieguy said...

WHAT... souvlaki without garlic sauce! What is the world coming to next. I'm not too keen on using mustard sauce to bring a 'pop'? Anyway, while I’m here…

I’m a food science student conducting a research survey on the purchase of specialty food products. Feel free to help me fill out my short 8 min research survey. It’s completely voluntary.

Cheers,

foodieguy

 
At 9:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not the chips, mustard or lack of tzatziki that make his souvlakis well below average, it's that they're dripping in grease. And that's saying a lot for a souvlaki. I agree with Matt. I'd go lambs over his any day!

 
At 11:27 pm, Blogger 3 hungry tummies said...

Agree with Matt too, even the lambs in brunswick street is much better. Mustard and chips? I'll have a burger.

 
At 11:01 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kalyn, consider him told! Can't imagine where he got that idea from, maybe trying a bit too hard.

Hi foodieguy, thanks for dropping by. Extraordinary, isn't it.

Hi anon, I like lambs too, but I haven't tried George's souvlaki yet, not that I'm in any hurry.

Hi 3 hungry tummies, souvlaki is the Greek hamburger, can't imagine they would tolerate so much mucking around with their icon.

 
At 12:07 am, Anonymous Serenity-Later said...

Sorry i'm entering the debate so late in the game but i just saw this now and felt compelled to add a bit of my own observations following some travels through greece: i have to say as much as it pains me to agree with george, mustard & chips are viable (& believe it or not delicious) inclusions in souvlakis in greece. I practically inhaled a super-terrifically amazing specimen that i picked up from the ordinarily touristy-trap like plaka area of athens for the princely sum of 1.50 euros. It had chips, it had mustard, the meat was pork (& i might add there was tzatziki as well) and it was phenomenal!! The idea that tzatziki is not added to souvlaki is total bullcrap though and sounds like the usual bluster coming out of george's mouth. There are no hard and fast rules, but the way he talks about it you'd think he was talking about some complex concoction, give me a break!

 
At 10:30 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi serenity, after talking with workmates about chips in everything from souvlakis to plain bread rolls, you're right, there are no hard and fast rules. I did experiment with chips in a souvlaki from Lambs in Chapel St and it wasn't too bad, but I really can't imagine a souvlaki with mustard and no tzatziki.

 
At 2:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Err, Tzatziki is not garlic sauce.

 
At 9:36 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi anon, you know how it is, tzatziki is a bit too hard for us aussies to say. Even some greeks!

 

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