Sydney’s Greek dining institution Alpha has refined their menu further to make Peter Conistis’ cooking more accessible to a wider variety of diners. The major change is that they’ve taken some of their most popular, larger dishes and also included options for smaller sizes so those who really want to indulge, especially groups, can have more variety as they work up their ideal Mediterranean feast in what is still one of the area’s most attractive dining spaces.
The move comes just months after the kitchen introduced their new Greek breakfast menu, a unique option that has so far opened early-birds up to dishes like Strapatsada with scrambled eggs, roast tomato saltsa, sheep’s milk feta, and olives, as well as bacon & egg pita rolls and Greek rice pudding. That energetic look at Greece’s morning staples highlights an admirable desire to showcase more of the European country.
Of course, this extends to the lunch and dinner menus which, while largely unchanged, have introduced a few new dishes to add to the already strong selection. Of course you’ve got to start with some perfectly made pita bread ($3) and dip; try the Three Roe Taramosalata ($16) served with white cod roe, salmon roe and avruga – very strong, fresh flavours that’ll open your palate up and prepare it for what’s to come.
And what is to come? Well that depends on how you play things, and there is plenty to play around with, especially now that smaller portions are available. Make sure you’re across the hearty, thick Octopus Twice Cooked ($29), while it’s not exactly one of the smaller portions, it’s absolutely necessary for the seafood lover, served with white bean skordalia, whilted spinach, and olive vinaigrette. Have something on the side with a vastly different texture and profile to complement the dish, like the creamy Tomatokeftedes ($14) fritters with fried green tomatoes, mint and kalamata olives.
When it comes to the middle of the meal, these smaller portions really help. Instead of gorging on the large ($26) serving of Alpha’s signature Spanakopita go for the smaller size ($16). You’ll still get a decent share of that beautiful Spinach pie with leeks, feta and dill, but you’ll also – especially if there’s only two or three of you – get to make room for essentials like the Moussaka of Eggplant ($32) with seared sea scallops and taramosalata, or even better the indulgent Halloumi Sagnaki ($16/$26) which stretches and satisfies with the chewy, salty and fried cheese flecked with persimmon, lemon, thyme honey and pistachio.
You might feel a fit guilty after that rich cheese dish, so if you’ve got space on the table make sure you go for one of the salads. They are gorgeous, colourful and generous plates of refreshing, clean tastes like the Cauliflower Salad ($15) with grains, greens, almonds and pomegranate.
If you’ve got space for dessert, try the Chocolate Hazelnut Fig Baklava ($15) which is big enough for 2-3 people, with chocolate metaxa and fig ice cream handling much of the flavour. Even more indulgent is the Kataifi Truffle ($15) with ekmek cream, quince, raspberries, almond ice cream and pistachio. Just don’t expect to walk away without feeling like you’ve just ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in one hit.
Alpha is still very much one of Sydney’s great gems when it comes to Greek dining. The wine list is superb, the interiors are breathtaking, and the food speaks for itself. Make a night of it and head up to their equally dazzling bar, Beta, but if you’re planning to then maybe don’t eat everything mentioned above.