Zupano in Sydney's Walsh Bay
Probably the most unsung hero of the Greek/Mediterranean food scene, is this quaint little café/bar located at Sydney’s Iconic Walsh Bay Piers 8-9, Foreshore Promenade, accessed via 23 Hickson Road, Millers Point. It’s not new and the locals visit every day, but it has quietly plodded along for close to 15 years almost entirely unnoticed by the wider Sydney Greek community, quietly setting their own business goals and achieving them with hardly any noise at all. We like that!
Husband and wife team Theo and Antonia Laliotis have a very simple approach and consider themselves and all Greek Australians among the luckiest people in the world. “We may have been born here but we have Greek blood running through our veins," Mr Laliotis said, “Which simply means that we are luckier than we know. We work hard and we know when to relax and unwind. We know about traditions, culture, history, filoxenia, filotimo and we can enjoy our frothies, our wines, as well as our ouzo and tsipouro too. We enjoy Greek cuisine, but we make it by using the best produce in the world. We don’t know how lucky we are!” Mr Laliotis continues, “And when it comes to lock downs and Covid, can you imagine what it would be like living anywhere else in the world? Yes, it’s tough, very tough, but we can’t help but still feel lucky growing up and living in Australia!”
There is no secret to their business success; Honest, tasty food, made using the finest local ingredients, with one thing being the most important – presentation! They refer to their food as ‘Aussieterranean’, using Mediterranean flavours to suit Australian palates. With dishes like traditional Moussaka, Pastitsio, spanakopita, keftedes, Greek style burgers and wraps, frappe, freddo cappuccino, Greek coffee, bougatsa, baklava and their all original creation, the Baklavaktobouriko – talk about a tongue twister! But it does way more than just twist your tongue; it makes it dance!
Imagine a Baklava base, a Galaktobouriko top, complete with flaky pastry and just the right amount of citrus syrup! It’s one for the ages and will have you returning time and time again once you try it. And the best part? You can order it by the tray!
Zupano Espresso_Bar is also the home of the Freddo Kataifi. Yep, you read that correctly. It’s a Freddo Cappuccino and Kataifi cake combined in one. Talk about indulgent!
As far as Greek feasts go, you know, the kind that make you feel like you’re on a secluded Greek island with a group of family and friends, you cannot go past the Mount Olympus Platter. It has everything your Greek heart and tummy could possibly desire – from Gemista, slow baked lamb, potatoes, pita, dips, watermelon and feta salad, octopus, spanakopita, keftedes, Greek salad and so much more, stacked up so high, you’d think you were trying to devour Mount Olympus itself. It’s gargantuan, it’s perfectly presented and it’s oh so tasty!
No different to the rest of the hospitality industry, Covid has wreaked havoc on this business. “We have the basics right and our regulars know this. They yearn for our food and drinks almost daily, meaning that we are fortunate in the sense that we are still able to keep going.” Mr Laliotis said. “But this time round, the latest lock down has hit us quite hard. People don’t seem to be out and about as they were in the first lock down.”
Forced to think differently to drum up some more business and keep customers returning, apart from their daily offerings, Zupano Espresso_Bar have introduced the ultimate at-home Greek culinary experience. Complete with a Spotify song list which they have personally put together to add to your Greek experience at home, they are providing couples and families with the ‘Zupano Home Greek Feast’ pack. It includes bottles of Greek wine, Greek beer, schooner glasses for you to own, and a Greek spread that is sure to appease, complete with printed heating and preparation instructions.
So, imagine tonight, via Zupano’s call and collect service, or if you reside within a certain kilometre radius of the store, you can order via Uber Eats, Menulog and Doordash, you sit down to this:
ZUPANO’S HOME GREEK FEAST PACK
Trio of Dips (v)
Taramosalata, tzatziki & eggplant dip served with our homemade warm pita bread
Our homemade traditional spinach & feta pies served warm
Yiayias Arnisies Keftedes
Traditional Lamb Meatballs loaded with Greek herbs and spices
Yiayia’s Nistisimes Keftedes (V)
Mixed vegetable meatballs loaded with Greek herbs and spices
Yellow Split Pea Purée, originating from Santorini, topped with sautéed cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions
Aussieterranean style, topped with Greek feta and dressed with Greek extra virgin olive oil of course.
Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder
A Zupano special made with locally sourced lamb shoulder slow cooked for 10 hours, served with roasted potatoes and carrots in broth
Layers of sautéed sliced eggplant, ground meat, flavoured with tomato, onion & cinnamon topped with bechamel sauce and baked to perfection
Whole tomato & capsicum stuffed with aromatic rice and served with fresh Greek yoghurt
Baked pasta and ground meat, loaded with Greek aromatics and topped with a bechamel sauce
Gigantes Plaki (v)
Baked lima beans in a fresh tomato, garlic and dill sauce, topped with Greek feta
A Zupano exclusive, world first mix of Baklava topped with silky Galaktobouriko, soaked in a mild citrus sugar syrup
Arguably, one of Greece’s greatest gifts to the culinary world. Layers of buttered filo encase a sweet semolina custard which is baked into a golden flaky pie. Dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon
2014 Skouras Cuvee Prestige White
Origin: Peleponnese GREECE
2016 Skouras Cuvee Prestige Rose
Origin: Peleponnese GREECE
2014 Skouras Cuvee Red
Origin: Peleponnese GREECE
(90% Agiorgitiko, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon)
2017 Unoaked Karavitakis, The Little Red Prince
Origin: Crete, GREECE
(65% Kotsifali, 35% Mandilari)
Greek blonde lager beer, full bodied, harmonious flavour and soft on the palate.
Origin: Parnassos, Greece
Is that enough to whet your appetite? All of this can be put together for you and your family within 24 hours’ notice.
The costs are as follows:
- For 2 = $80
- For 2 including a bottle of wine of your choice, plus 2 bottles of Eza Beer and 2 schooner glasses to keep = $95
- For 4 = $160
- For 4 including 2 bottles of wine of your choice plus 4 bottles of Eza Beer and 4 schooner glasses to keep = $190
So, what are you waiting for? Make it a Greek night at home tonight. Kali orexi!
Zupano Espresso_Bar: Shop 9, 23 Hickson Road, Piers 8/9 Foreshore Promenade, Millers Point, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 92411248
Facebook: @Zupanoespressobar Instagram: @zupanoespresso
* Images by George Karantonis / Image Smart (Copyright)