Given the location of Apollo Bay and its history as a sleepy fishing village, it does not boast a varied culinary scene. But Chris Talihmanidis' efforts since 1979 have not gone unnoticed. Having survived humble beginnings and a fire which took everything away, Chris' new (since 2003) premises on Skene's Creek Road is built in a beautiful and tranquil setting high in the Otways, overlooking green fields reaching to the sea. Spectacular!
His food is focused on the day's catch and Greek-inspired methods, true to his origins. The cooking may be a hit and miss, but the produce is always fresh and local.
The starter of chargrilled squid topped with a breaded prawn on skewer was well executed, with the seafood retaining much of its fresh bounce and juices. Simple enough to appreciate the proximity of where the bounty originated.
While not from the sea, our other starter of the Duck terrine, was a nice representation and combination of all parts of the duck, centred around a prune to liven things up, served with a salad and crispy bread. Such a nice contrast to the seafood.
Our mains was the day's catch of crayfish (although it looked big enough to be lobster!) served on buttered pappardelle. The crayfish was well grilled but we thought the sauce was a little of an anti-climax. Too one dimensional and didn't really bring out the freshnesss of the crayfish but instead overpowered it. A little unfortunate in execution.
Our selection of Greek desserts were probably a little too Greek for us. Across 8 varieties, we overdosed on nuts, and a lot of honey. While I like them both individually, I thought it was a bit much and regretted not ordering something more mainstream. Oh well, at least I know now.
Given the limitations in the area, Chris's remains a viable visit and his villas certainly look enticing. If there was more competition in the area, he may not be able to command the prices he charges and the steady crowds which come into Apollo Bay seasonally.
280 Skenes Creek Road
Apollo Bay 3233
Tel: +61-3-5237 6411
Tel: +61-3-5237 6411