(Canberra, Australia) – Joanna Stavaras has opened a new restaurant in Canberra, Australia at the Hellenic Club called Orexi by Baxanis. This restaurant, however, doesn’t focus on typical, taverna-style cuisine. Orexi stands apart by offering food that has a modern focus and comes complete with a cocktail bar. Yiannis Baxevanis, the Greek chef who consults internationally on various restaurants, worked with Stavaras on this project. Baxevanis has extensive experience opening restaurants and has been involved with twelve internationally-owned restaurants, but this is his first in Australia.
Joanna Stavaras owns Ten Steps, a restaurant consulting company that made the decision to bring Baxevanis in to work on this project. She said, “The concept is to create a microcosm of Greek culture, which is the food, the way we eat, the way we cook, the flavors and the products. He also provides the Greek cuisine, the Greek products, the Greek way of eating. ” However, she also pointed out that the way he executes the Greek cuisine is decidedly modern by using techniques that are a little but updated for the modern palate.
Orexi’s kitchen has items such as a wood fired oven, which is traditionally used in Greece to make many of its dishes. Although many homes do have ovens, it’s the wood fired oven that is the traditional choice. The Hellenic Club and Ten Steps worked to create a restaurant that would appeal to Greek-Australians who are second and third generation Greek. Although they identify strongly with the Greek culture, they also strongly identify as native Australians.
The restaurant will, of course, offer typical dishes such as moussaka and souvlaki. There will also be hortopita stuffed with greens, herbs, and cheese. Stivado is also a fixture on the menu but Stavaras explains that traditionally it is served with rabbit in Greece. At Orexi, it is being made with beef, which gives the traditional dish a modernized update. The restaurant is set to open in November.