As far as food destinations in the suburbs go, leafy Surrey Hills is not the typical hot spot. But recently it is showing glimmers of hope with new restaurants and cafes popping up by the dozen. Saint Barry on Whitehorse Road is a restaurant which is proving just that, aiming to bring an inner city vibe to the suburbs for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
Saint Barry has a fairly non-descript entrance on Whitehorse Road so is quite easy to miss. Once inside it has a modern feel, while retaining that homely neighbourhood vibe which is so loved amongst locals. The dining room wraps around the modern kitchen and there’s also a spacious courtyard which is being developed at the rear, perfect for those balmy summer evenings. There’s a nice energy about Saint Barry, with the smell of freshly cooked seafood wafting through the dining room, immediately teasing the tastebuds of its patrons.
Spyros Vrakas (ex Press Club, Hellenic Republic) is at the helm of the kitchen, drawing on his experience in Australia with his experience in Mykonos to craft a contemporary Mediterranean inspired menu. Owners Peter and Rebecca Sprekos run a popular fish and chip shop in Lilydale, so have perfected their batter to an art.
The menu is all about contemporary tapas which showcase locally sourced produce and is divided into small and large plates. The drinks list is equally impressive with a nice range of craft beers on tap and a good selection of local wines.
We started with a plate of calamari paired with a smoked paprika aioli. Cooked to perfection with a slight char, the calamari were finished with a sprinkle of herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
Another highlight on the ’smaller’ menu is the kataifi prawns teamed with chilli, coriander and ginger. Wrapped in a thin, crunchy kataifi pastry, the prawns are a textural delight and a flavour bomb. Other dishes not to miss include the spinach arancini with feta cream and the oh so naughty haloumi chips with sriracha salt.
Burgers are another feature on the menu including the epic beef burger with prosciutto chips, merino gold cream, tomato and golden chips or sliders three ways with pulled pork, beef and salmon.
On the larger menu, I couldn’t go past their signature fish and chips. Beautifully golden with a crisp sweet paprika batter, I can now see why Peter and Rebecca’s fish and chip shop in Lilydale is so popular, especially with the riduculously moreish bacon salt chips on the side.
Moving on to something a little more meaty, the riblettes were succulent and tender, effortlessly falling off the bone with the slightest of nudges. Perhaps the edible flowers were a little superfluous for a savoury dish, but it did make it photograph beautifully.
Surrey Hills may be a bit of a trek out of the city for many of us, but it’s certainly worth it for some delicious dishes. I will certainly be back.
Saint Barry Surrey Hills
A 59 Whitehorse Road, Surrey Hills VIC 3127
T (03) 9836 0411