Housed in one of Australia's landmark buildings, the former Royal Mint building, the Hellenic Museum which is the nation's foremost centre of Hellenic history, culture and arts, now boasts Melbourne's newest Greek restaurant ‘Grounds of Arcadia’.
Found in the courtyard garden, the contemporary Greek restaurant serves a simple and hearty menu of dishes inspired by Greece’s diverse island and mainland regions.
“Food and wine are in every Greek’s DNA and so it was only apt for there to be a synergistic hospitality offering aligned to the Hellenic Museum. It means that in partnership with Grounds of Arcadia, we can now deliver a holistic Greek cultural experience in this unique heritage listed site” said Hellenic Museum CEO, John Tatoulis.
The delicious dishes are prepared using bespoke wood-fired ovens and paired with indigenous Greek wine varietals, beers and spirits.
Diners will be able to treat their tastebuds to beef and lamb meatballs (with basil infused tomato sauce and kefalograviera cheese), traditional Greek lentil soup (infused with bay leaves, served with sage oil drizzled rustic loaf), kritharaki (Greek risoni with seafood, parsley, garlic and fresh chilli), char-grilled cauliflower and broccoli florets salad (with thyme infused goat cheese and roasted pine nuts) and homemade baklava (served warm with candied walnuts and honey yoghurt). These are just a few of the many mouthwatering dishes available on the menu.
Head Chef, Safat Hossain stated what drew him to the restaurant was its relationship with the Hellenic Museum. “Greek food is such an integral part of Greek culture and being able to present food that is not only inspired by but suitably represents the Museum's collection of treasures which spans 8,000 years, is both challenging and exciting," he continued.
Grounds of Arcadia opens for lunch from 11.30am-4pm Tuesday to Friday each week, with evening opening hours to launch later in the year.
"My mission here at Grounds of Arcadia is to create the perfect venue for a relaxing meal made from sustainable and local produce, paired with a glass of the finest Greek wine. Everyone is invited to experience our Mediterranean lifestyle in the heart of the most liveable city in the world and forget, even just for a while, their busy lives outside of our gardens” Venue Manager, Samir Slimane stated.
In addition to the Hellenic Museum’s new courtyard restaurant, two of its popular galleries featuring work by Australian artists Bill Henson and Sam Jinks, are available for immersive private dining experiences.
The first gallery houses The Messenger, a spectacular hyper-real sculpture by Melbourne artist Sam Jinks. Inspired by a statue of Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow and liminal space, Jinks recreated the golden-winged goddess kneeling by the River Styx, whose depths are the boundary between death and life, myth and memory, the past and the future. She stoops to fill her water vessel from a dark pool around which an intimate private dinner can be served.
The second gallery ‘Oneiroi’, is a unique photographic installation created by world-renowned artist Bill Henson in collaboration with the Hellenic Museum and the Benaki Museum. Inspired by a dialogue between the aesthetics of the ancient past and today, Henson’s photography captures five historical objects (including a 3500 year-old gold cup, an Ottoman period necklace and the knife that once belonged to a revolutionary leader) from the Benaki Museum collection, currently on display in the Hellenic Museum’s award-winning exhibition Gods, Myths & Mortals. Henson’s technical and aesthetic approach and his use of light and shadow add an ethereal quality, which inspired the naming of the exhibition ‘Oneiroi’, the name given to the personification of dreams as spirits in Greek mythology.
Where: Grounds of Arcadia, Hellenic Museum (280 William Street, Melbourne 3000)
Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday 11:30am-4pm
Phone number: (03) 9642 1889
*Photo credit Kristoffer Paulsen